a.k.a. Genius by Marilee Haynes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Source: Received to Review
Genre: Middle Grade fiction
Book Description: Thirteen-year-old Gabe Carpenter is just like any other middle-school boy at St. Jude Academy...well, except for the fact that based on his scores on some seventh grade test, he is considered a "genius" and is placed in an enrichment class with other gifted students. But he sure doesn't seem like a genius-after all, he can't even open his own locker and his brain stops functioning when Becca, his sister's best friend, comes around.
As if these problems aren't enough to deal with, he is convinced that one of his arms is longer than the other, he's still waiting for signs of puberty, and his second best friend is mad at him. Even worse, his nervousness causes some pretty embarrassing bodily functions. And at home, his dad expects him to be some kind of basketball star athlete instead of a science nerd who predicts the weather.
Join Gabe as he navigates the trying times of middle-school, wonders what it means to have brains, and learns what it truly means to be himself.
Themes include: self-acceptance, giftedness, and humor.
My thoughts: Gabe is an average boy who has an above average IQ. He wants to fit in and not be singled out for his academic achievements. He wants to be able to go outside and play basketball with his dad and make a basket. He wants to hang out with his friends. He wants to be accepted and feel like he belongs.
When Gabe is singled out as a genius in his middle school, his life takes a turn for the worse. Some of his friends are jealous. Some kids make fun of him. Some turn their backs on him. His school principal wants to make him a leader. It's not what Gabe wants.
This book is a very realistic look at the psyche of teenage society. Gabe and his classmates learn some hard and wonderful lessons about life and the things that are important. This book is about empowering kids to be true to themselves and making good decisions.
There are religious settings in the book. Gabe attends a Catholic school. While religion is important to the characters, it is not the underlying theme of the book. This is a great book for kids and adults no matter what their religion.