The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
by Stacy McAnulty
* * * * Stars (Great!)
Lucy Callahan is a math savant. She acquired her “superpowers” after being struck by lightning and suddenly developed an affinity with and for numbers. There were some negative side effects, though – she also has some obsessive-compulsive tendencies and a fear of germs that other people often perceive as weird or freakish. Raised by her Nana, and homeschooled since about the time the accident took place, Lucy is now 12, and although she’s brilliant and advanced enough to attend college, her Nana is sending her to middle school to work on some other skills – like making friends. Lucy is well aware of her differences and knows that some kids (and probably adults, too) aren’t going to be very understanding, and because she doesn’t want everyone to know about her being “Lightning Girl,” she tries to keep a low profile. There are some misunderstandings, and one girl is inexplicably mean to Lucy, but for the most part her teachers are accommodating and she even makes a couple of friends. School becomes less of an ordeal, especially after Lucy and the 2 other kids in her group service project (Windy and Levi) start volunteering at an animal shelter. She learns that friendships can be challenging and dogs can be filthy, but ultimately, both are worthwhile.
Lucy and her friends are quirky and charming, and the story – told from Lucy’s point of view – is incredibly self-aware and believable. Readers do not have to love math to appreciate Lucy’s fascination with numbers and joy in solving difficult problems, or the difficulties she experiences in school and in making friends.
Reviewed by YA Librarian