Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lisa Yee. MILLICENT MIN: GIRL GENIUS

Millicent Min just completed her junior year in high school and she’s only eleven-years-old. She doesn’t have any friends in high school, since people aren’t really sure how to take her genius status. Plus, there is the huge age difference. So she’s looking forward to a great summer spending time with her grandmother, taking a college level poetry class and working on projects such as plotting downtown traffic patterns. Then her parents throw a wrench in her plans.  Her mom enrolls her in volleyball. She wants Millie to make some friends and become a little more well-rounded. Also, Millie gets stuck tutoring Stanford Wong, a jock that she considers a complete dolt. 

Fortunately, Millie meets Emily at volleyball and they become friends. Emily is new in town and doesn’t know about Millie attending high school already. Millie is so desperate for a real friend that she doesn’t want to risk losing her. The lies begin piling up and Millie begins to worry. If Emily finds out, will she lose her only friend. Furthermore, is it worth hiding her true self to keep her friend?

I love Millie!! I bookmarked so many parts in the book that I found hysterically funny or just plain adorable. For example, when she recalls losing her first tooth:

As I approached the breakfast table, Dad was downright giddy. "Find anything special under your pillow?" he asked, trying to sound nonchalant. My mother suppressed a smile, then returned to beating the lumps out of the pancake batter.
"Dad," I replied, attempting to let him down gently, "I know it was you who took my central incisor. Now may I please have it back? I'd like to study it under my microscope."

I mean really, now how can you not giggle at that? There are so many other great parts too, but you just need to read it for yourself. Millie is such a wonderfully precocious, quirky character. The other characters fill out the cast nicely. Her grandmother, in particular, is unique, wise and a lot of fun.

Here's a nifty tidbit - Lisa Yee wrote books about two other characters in the book: Emily, Millie's best friend and Stanford, the boy Millie tutors. (need to read those!)



I've reviewed ANOTHER MAYBE by Lisa Yee also. Plus, I scored an interview with her, check that out HERE! Finally, to check out her website go here.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Rebecca Stead. FIRST LIGHT


Peter finally gets to see his father as an exploring scientist, rather than just a stuffy professor. His mom and dad have decided to let him come along on a scientific study in Greenland. His dad is a glaciologist and will be studying weather changes on the glaciers. His mom plans to continue writing her book on DNA. Peter is thrilled to leave school for a few months and go on the adventure with his family.

The secrets he uncovers there turn out to be beyond all comprehension. One day he goes exploring and stumbles upon a girl named Thea trying to pry a boy out of a crack in the ice. Peter helps Thea pull him to safety and continues to help her carry him to her “camp.” But what he finds isn’t a camp, but a huge community living underneath the ice in secret. After Peter has amassed a truckload of questions, they hustle him back to the surface refusing to answer any of them. He’s sent on his way and told to keep their secret.

Then when Peter sees his mom doodling a symbol that he saw down in the secret community, more questions come up. What is going on with that place and how is his mother involved?

The author has woven such an amazing story out of so many interesting topics.
There are many aspects of this story that I loved: The sled dogs that work so hard for their people and become members of their families, the science of fireflies, the igloo building, the mitochondrial DNA…I was continually intrigued and entertained! I’m not even going into some of the other cool aspects, so I won’t divulge any spoilers!

I’m floored that this is the author’s first published book. (but not totally surprised, since she just won the Newbery for her second book, which I also loved and reviewed here.) Also, what this author does better than anyone is tie up loose ends. You know how sometimes when you read a book or see a movie and something happened early on & you think “why didn’t they ever explain such & such.. or why did they bring that up & never finish it.” Well, every little thing you’re curious about in the book is neatly explained along the way or at the end. I love that! She did that with her second book too.

There is a really nifty website for this book here. The author's website is here.  I will be FIRST in line for her next book!