It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/31/22 #imwayr


Happy Monday! If this is your first visit to my blog, welcome! I regularly participate in a weekly #IMWAYR meme. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday to share what you’ve been reading!

I’m going to be real for a moment, here. I’m struggling to keep up with life, right now. Our household needs seem to have multiplied exponentially over the last month and I can’t seem to get it together. I don’t know if this is what’s being referred to as “Covid brain” or “Covid brain fog,” but I’ve had several weird (scary) memory lapses over the last 2-3 weeks while recovering from what SEEMED to be a very mild illness (we tested positive on the 11th). With all this going on, my usual reading has necessarily shortened, for now. And my blogging, answering emails, answering comments, and my visiting/commenting at all our weekly #imwayr participants has been below par. I may take a complete break this semester while I take care of ALL THE THINGS and reorganize my reading/writing life.

IN ANY CASE, even if I miss a few months of participation, I will be slowly working toward my #MustReadin2022 list that I just pulled together this weekend. Along with some books I’ve just wanted to read for myself, I included most everything (both winners and honor books) from the Youth Media Awards that I hadn’t yet finished in 2021. I don’t usually include picture books on my list, but this year I wanted to make certain I can prioritize all award-winners.


If you’d like to see a printed list of these books, feel free to visit my #MustReadin2022 post where I break it down by book type. The #MustReadin2022 community is hosted by Cheriee Weichel of Library Matters and Leigh Anne Eck of A Day in the Life. If you’d like to participate this year, please link up HERE immediately (no later than January 31st).

Today I’ll be sharing a review of Genius Camp which is book #2 of The Smartest Kid in the Universe series by Chris Grabenstein.

57499856Camp Genius
(The Smartest Kid in the Universe #2)
Chris Grabenstein
Random House Books for Young Readers
November 30, 2021

I was first introduced to this series when I picked up book #1 by chance through Overdrive/Libby in 2020. In the first book, we learn that Jake attends Riverview Middle School. One day he is bored and hungry during a large conference at the Imperial Marquis Hotel where his mother is an event planner. He happens upon a jar of jelly beans that he innocently snacks on, while waiting. And as fate would have it, the jelly beans turn out to be a scientific brain booster. This is what makes Jake McQuade into the “smartest kid in the universe.” Adventure ensues, but I don’t want to give any big spoilers for those who haven’t yet read it.

So book #2 starts off with Jake winning a competition against billionaire tech mogul Zane Zinkle’s super computer. After his brilliant display of intellectual skills, he and his smart friends have been invited to Camp Genius, hosted by Zinkle. Zinkle is a bit touchy about Jake’s new title because before Jake came along, Zinkle was the smartest kid in the universe. Clearly something is up. However, if Jake accepts the invitation, everyone in his school will receive a FREE Z Phone, a new pricey invention of Zinkle’s. And Jake accepts the invitation as a way to give back to his community.

After the kids arrive at camp, some of their fellow campers and counselors begin to act rather strangely. Nevertheless, whatever is going on does not seem to impact Jake and his friend, Kojo. As they begin to unfold the mystery and attempt to outwit the robots guarding the camp, they quickly discover that not only are their camp friends at risk here, but their entire Riverview Middle School community! Will they be able to reveal the plot before their entire home town is destroyed?

What a wonderful adventure! I’ve enjoyed this series and hope book #2 isn’t the end! Grabenstein’s writing is easily accessible to children, but also allows the reader to ask more philosophical questions about being smart versus being wise. This book also opens the door for valuable discussion about the addictive nature of technology apps and social media. The writing is just wonderful and I’m happy to recommend this series. Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC so that I could share my honest review!

To review next week:


I’m really LOVING this book and I can’t believe I didn’t pick up up before this week!!


What are YOU reading?

10 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/31/22 #imwayr

  1. Oh, Shaye! I am sorry for all the virus effects that are giving you such trouble & hope you can figure out some help or that it simply goes away! Thanks for getting all this together, amazing list & the review. I have The Last Cuentista on my list, but a few others ahead. Take good care of yourself this week!


  2. I’m so sorry to read that you are having long term effects from this evil virus. So most importantly, you need to look after yourself and then your family. I hope that with more rest this will eventually go away. Sending hugs and love across the airways to you.
    You have convinced me to read The Smartest Kid in the Universe so long as my library has a copy of it. I just downloaded The Last Cuentista and will start it either later today or tomorrow.
    Take care.


  3. Oh, Shaye, I am so sorry to hear you have some lingering effects. Most cases of what they are calling “long COVID” are the immune disorder I have had for 20 years, ME/CFS (which is usually triggered by some sort of infection), and believe me, you DON’T want that! It can occur even after a mild illness – some, like me, don’t even remember any particular infection that acted as the trigger because it was so mild.

    The best thing you can do to help yourself recover now is to listen to your body and rest, rest, rest! Tell yourself you are still recovering (you clearly are). Besides getting more sleep and napping (maybe a regular daily, preventative nap like I do), just do LESS. Simplify, delegate, put your feet up as much as possible, let go of what’s not absolutely necessary – now is the time to make your health your #1 priority. Don’t push – if you are tired or feeling foggy, lie down. Resting as much as possible now will greatly reduce the chances that this lingers or becomes long-term or permanent.

    Sorry for the lecture, but I care about you, and I don’t want you to go through this. So leave all those to-do’s for another day, put your feet up (that’s actually quite important), and read one of those great books on your list!

    Thinking of you, my reading friend & hoping you continue to improve –

    Book By Book


  4. Sorry you are going through this, I hope you will soon feel better.
    I want to meet Jack and also this cuentista – middle grade scifi sounds great, I don’t think I have read any


  5. My sister had COVID over the new year, and she’s still exhausted. Now I really really want to avoid it as long as possible!

    I’ve put Jack on my reading list, and Cuentista was already there from the Cybils. Hope you feel better soon!


  6. I’m so sorry you’re still struggling because of COVID, Shaye! It sounds so frustrating to be forgetting things or otherwise getting distracted, so I seriously hope things improve for you soon. And until they do, taking a break if you need one is absolutely reasonable (as it would be any time, regardless of COVID or no COVID)! Your #MustReadin2022 list looks fantastic, and Camp Genius sounds like such a fun story—Chris Grabenstein has a knack for writing things that kids will love! And I definitely want to get to The Last Cuentista now that it’s literally won the Newbery. Thanks so much for the wonderful post, and feel better soon!


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