The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
How are y’all doing, beautiful people? Fantabulous, I hope. Well, this might be old news to some of you, but a couple of weeks ago I listed a few books–both from my personal collection and borrowed from the library–that I’d started but just hadn’t finished yet. This story, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, happened to be one of them. But today, I was able to read the remaining 83 pages and finish it up. And WOW, I have a lot to talk about. So, let’s get started!
This book is all about 12-year-old Lucy Callahan, a girl who transferred to homeschooling when she was struck by lightning at the age of 8. The strike ended up destroying a small portion of her brain, then turning her into a total math genius. Despite her young age, she is a master of all things mathematics–so much so that she could already go to college. But, there’s one problem; her Nana, also her guardian, forces her to spend one year in middle school.
And all Nana asks is that Lucy does 1 year of public school, makes 1 friend, joins 1 activity, and reads 1 book. Ever since she was diagnosed with savant syndrome, she’s solved just about every problem that she’s faced with numbers. She was struck by lightning for goodness sakes! This should be nothing but a piece of cake, right? Wrong.
First of all, let me just say that this book is the epitome of a roller coaster. One minute, it has you laughing ’till your sides hurt and the next it has you on the verge of tears.
What really made this book almost impossible to put down was the realistic protagonist. Although Lucy is germaphobe with OCD who has to sit-stand 3 times every time she takes a seat–you’ll get it if you check out the book ;)–she is also a fantastic representation of how a lot of kids feel in school, whether elementary, middle or high. She feels like she doesn’t fit in. Like she’s out of step. When she first arrives to Hamlin Middle, she even purposefully gets test answers wrong so she can seem more “normal smart” rather than “genius smart.”
As Lucy faces her battles, or as the title implies, miscalculations, she goes on a journey of self-discovery and begins to find that life is more than numbers.
Self-confidence, peer pressure, bullying, animals in shelters who never get adopted, the power of friendship and family, as well as girl power are all topics hinted in the book, which I appreciate since a couple of those can seem a little bit overlooked in middle grade and YA literature.
In many ways, I saw myself in Lucy. We’re both super smart straight A students in middle school who have been homeschooled since 3rd grade and live with our grandmothers. To me, when a character is realistic and raw, not living in a fantasy world where trials and tribulations are nonexistent, I am automatically sucked into the story and I can connect with the protagonist much more.
Overall, if you are someone who loves animals and enjoys reading clean books with just enough humor to make you laugh but just enough emotion to pull your heartstrings, with a strong female lead, then this is definitely the book for you.
Age Recommendation: 9 or 10+
Overall Rating: 9/10 ★★★★★★★★★☆
This is a great read that I recommend for readers of most ages. If you’ve read or would like to read The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl or you have some (family-friendly) book recommendations, please feel free to comment them down below.
Thank you so much for reading, book lovers! Peace in! <33