Author: Stacy McAnulty
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Random House
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Middle school is the one problem Lucy Callahan can't solve in this middle-grade novel perfect for fans of The Fourteenth Goldfish, Rain Reign, and Counting by 7s.
Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn't remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she's technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test--middle school!
Lucy's grandma insists: Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that's not a math textbook!). Lucy's not sure what a girl who does calculus homework for fun can possibly learn in 7th grade. She has everything she needs at home, where nobody can make fun of her rigid routines or her superpowered brain. The equation of Lucy's life has already been solved. Unless there's been a miscalculation?
A celebration of friendship, Stacy McAnulty's smart and thoughtful middle-grade debut reminds us all to get out of our comfort zones and embrace what makes us different.
"An engaging story, full of heart and hope. Readers of all ages will root for Lucy, aka Lightning Girl. No miscalculations here!" --Kate Beasley, author of Gertie's Leap to Greatness
“4!” I shout. “I have 4 friends.”
“Who?” Nana asks.
“SquareHead314, HipHypotenuse, Numberlicious, and GregS77.”
“What?” Nana laughs, but I’m not joking. “Are those people?”
“Yes, they’re online friends. I know them from the math forums and the tutoring websites.”
“Do you know anything about them?” Uncle Paul asks, shaking his head. My family is ganging up on me.
“I know SquareHead314 is a whiz with differential equations. He . . . or she . . . can explain things in the simplest terms.”
“He or she?” Uncle Paul asks.
“Don’t be sexist. Girls are as good at math as boys are. I can’t assume SquareHead314 is a boy.” Now it’s my turn to shake my head.
“SquareHead is not your friend if you don’t even know his . . . her . . . gender.” Uncle Paul runs his hands over his microshort (maybe 1/8 inch) hair.
“What do you want me to do? Nana told me to be careful on the Internet. I try not to ask personal questions.”
“Lucy, you don’t know these people. You’ve never met them. They’re not your friends,” Nana says.
“Do you want me to invite them over?”
“No!” Nana snaps. “These people could be murderers. Especially Greg77. He obviously has no imagination.”
“It’s Greg-S-77. And he’s an expert in string theory.”
“What is that?” She holds up a hand. “Never mind.”
“Ma, how did you let this happen?” Uncle Paul asks. “Lucy needs to be around other kids. You can’t keep her locked away.”
“That’s right. I have her locked in a tower and never let her out. She’ll have to grow her hair and escape through the window if she ever wants to leave. Please, Paul.”
This would be a good time for me to say, Don’t blame Nana. Sure, she is the 1 who pulled me out of elementary school after 2nd grade. But I’ve never wanted to go back. Nana tried. She forced me to go to the homeschool gym class at the Y last year. I hated it. The other kids hated it, too. I only like to bounce a basketball 3 times. Or jump rope 3 times. Or run around the track 3 times. Actually, I hate running around the track any number of times. People don’t get me, and I don’t really need the distractions.
Instead, I say, “Nana hasn’t been to her doctor in over 2 years. 741 days exactly.”
“What!” Paul says.
“What does that have to do with anything?”
“Ma, you have to take care of yourself.”
Nana and Uncle Paul go back and forth. I quietly excuse myself and carry Uncle Paul’s duffel bag to my bedroom. I’m letting him sleep there for the weekend.
I log on to my computer.
LightningGirl: Hey, friends. I’m back.
SquareHead314: Great. We’re talking fractal geometry.
Maybe SquareHead and the others aren’t friend friends. But we’ve got a shared love of math. Maybe that’s enough.
Life is like an equation, and mine is perfectly balanced.
Nana + Uncle Paul + Math = Happiness
Other people might need to add in friends or sports or money or something else, but my equation is already solved.
Stacy McAnulty is a children’s book author, who used to be a mechanical engineer, who’s also qualified to be a paleontologist (NOT REALLY), a correspondent for The Daily Show (why not), and a Green Bay Packer coach (totally!). She is the 2017 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor Recipient for Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach. Her other picture books include Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years, illustrated by David Litchfield; Max Explains Everything: Grocery Store Expert, illustrated by Deborah Hocking, Brave and Beautiful, both illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff; Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite, illustrated by Edward Hemingway; and 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang. She’s also authored the chapter book series Goldie Blox, based on the award-winning toys, and The Dino Files. Her debut middle grade novel, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, will publish in May 2018. When not writing, Stacy likes to listen to NPR, bake triple-chocolate cupcakes, and eat triple-chocolate cupcakes. Originally from upstate NY, she now lives in Kernersville, NC with her 3 kids, 3 dogs, and 1 husband.
(3) winners will receive a finished copy of THE MISCALCULATIONS OF LIGHTNING GIRL - US Only!
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