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.
(The Smartest Kid in the Universe #2)
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!!