Monday, April 30, 2018

MMGM- The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, The Geek's Cookbook

33004208McAnulty, Stacy. The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl.
May 1st 2018 by Random House
E ARC from Netgalley

Lucy lives with her supportive grandmother, and frequently sees her uncle Hondo, who is young, fun, and a bit misguided. Lucy has been homeschooled, but her grandmother decides that it is time for Lucy to acquire the social skills that middle school will provide. Why? Lucy was struck by lightning when she was young, and because of the resultant brain damage is now a mathematical savant but also suffers from OCD and social anxiety. Her grandmother's idea of sticking things out for one year and making one friend seems all but impossible, since Lucy can't even sit in a chair without repeating the action three times. Lucy is socially savvy enough to realize that her mathematical abilities will not win her any friends, and she tries very hard to do just enough to get A- grades, but an early attempt puts her on her teacher's radar for cheating with a boy named Levi. Levi struggles in math, but is accepting of Lucy and her quirks. When the class has to participate in a social service project-- in a group-- Lucy is not sure how she will do. Luckily, she and Levi are able to work together, along with Windy, to help out a local pet rescue, Pet Hut. Lucy runs the numbers and works out a formula she can use to tell which dogs will take longer to be adopted, so that those dogs can be featured on the web site. In the meantime, her grandmother is considering enrolling her in a school for the gifted, and of course, nothing in Lucy's life runs smoothly. Her friendship with Windy is a good one, until Windy's past friendship with mean girl Maddie complicates things. Will Lucy be able to survive middle school?
Strengths: This had an excellent balance of unusual and usual middle school challenges. Readers who enjoy problems novels because they make their own lives seem better will find Lucy's OCD and social difficulty interesting, while the problems with group projects and friends will appeal to everyone. Lucy's grandmother was wonderfully supportive and no-nonsense, and her attitude contributes greatly to Lucy's resilience. Lucy's problems are not downplayed, but are handled in a realistic way. The pet rescue story line was intriguing, and Lucy's talents in math actually are very valuable to the organization-- I think Lucy may have a really good career ahead of her as an actuary!
Weaknesses: Occasionally, the number one was written as "1" instead, and for some reason, this distracted me. I understand why this was done, but it happened infrequently enough that it took me out of the story.
What I really think: Loved this. Great cover, great story, STEM connections, pet rescue, and group project drama. There should be more books about middle school projects and their resultant drama! This is right behind Landis' Private Nobody, which also involved projects, as my second favorite book of 2018. Dan Richardson's Stu Truly is right up there as well. And had some project-y sorts of things. Seeing a theme!

38473466 Lecomte, Ligouri. The Geek's Cookbook: Easy Recipes Inspired by Pok√©mon, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and More!
May 1st 2018 by Skyhorse Publishing
Copy graciously provided by publisher upon request

While it would be possible to create an entire cookbook based only on the fandoms mentioned in the title (and indeed, there is at least one Harry Potter themed cookbook!), this goes the extra mile and includes an interesting variety of recipes to go along with other books, video games, and shows. Minecraft, Final Fantasy,Game of Thrones, the Matrix, and Batman, as well as The Big Bang Theory, Dexter, and Breaking Bad come into play.

This is a book aimed at adults, and the range of topics as well as the difficulty of recipes show this. I knew that going in, but the book hit so many of the Interests of My People that I had to investigate it. I am a bit surprised that there are no Tolkien, Douglas Adams, or Monty Python recipes. Since the author is French, perhaps French Geekdom is somewhat different.

While I am debating the inclusion of this book in my middle school library because of Breaking Bad and Dexter, which don't seem particularly middle grade appropriate (manufacturing meth and... a serial killer?) this would be a huge hit in a high school, and an excellent choice for a present for a college student who is just beginning to have to cook. I will definitely have to buy a couple of copies for various friends, both of mine and of my daughters'!

If anyone really needs to know how to make this Sauron's Downfall cake, just e mail me!


  1. You are doing a great job of piling up my TBR list. THE MISCALCULATIONS OF LIGHTNING GIRL sounds like one I would enjoy along with many students. Your other choices this past week were equally intriguing.

  2. I love the themes in Lightning Girl, too, especially the one about animal rescue. I was chuckling at her calculations to determine "least adoptable" dog.

    I'm passing on the cake recipe. I'm afraid that cake might take over the kitchen. :-)

  3. Thanks for the post. Miscalculations of Lightning Girl is already on my radar. Now I really want to get to it.