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The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
Cover of The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
A lightning strike gave her a super power...but even a super genius can't solve the problem of middle school. This smart and funny novel is perfect for fans of The Fourteenth Goldfish, Rain Reign, and...
A lightning strike gave her a super power...but even a super genius can't solve the problem of middle school. This smart and funny novel is perfect for fans of The Fourteenth Goldfish, Rain Reign, and...
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  • A lightning strike gave her a super power...but even a super genius can't solve the problem of middle school. This smart and funny novel is perfect for fans of The Fourteenth Goldfish, Rain Reign, and Counting by Sevens.
    Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn't remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she's technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test—middle school!
    Lucy's grandma insists: Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that's not a math textbook!). Lucy's not sure what a girl who does calculus homework for fun can possibly learn in 7th grade. She has everything she needs at home, where nobody can make fun of her rigid routines or her superpowered brain. The equation of Lucy's life has already been solved. Unless there's been a miscalculation?
    A celebration of friendship, Stacy McAnulty's smart and thoughtful middle-grade debut reminds us all to get out of our comfort zones and embrace what makes us different.
    AN NPR BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
    A KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
    "An engaging story, full of heart and hope. Readers of all ages will root for Lucy, aka Lightning Girl. No miscalculations here!" —Kate Beasley, author of Gertie's Leap to Greatness

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    I don’t remember the moment that changed my life 4 years ago. Call it a side effect of being struck by lightning. That bolt of electricity burned a small hole in my memory. It also rewired my brain, transforming me into Lucille Fanny Callahan, math genius.

     

    I’ve been told the lightning-strike story 42 times, so it’s almost like my own memory. I see it perfectly: I’m at the Crystal Creek Apartments, where Nana and I lived then. (There’s not really a creek, just a big dirty fountain in front.) I’m playing outside with a girl named Cecelia when the thunderstorm starts. We live in North Carolina, and storms happen all the time in the spring and summer. We watch from behind a toolshed. For some reason, I climb on the chain link fence. Maybe 8-year-old me was a daredevil; 12-year-old me definitely is not.

     

    Lightning strikes the fence, and the electricity runs through the metal links and then through me. Some of the current even jumps from me to Cecelia. I’m knocked out. Cecelia is just knocked over. She runs and gets help. Joe, the maintenance man, uses a defibrillator on me because the electricity from the lightning stopped my heart. The electricity from the defibrillator starts it back up.

     

    I do remember the hospital and the black burns on my pale hands. I remember pretending to be asleep while Nana prayed next to my bed. I only stayed in the hospital 1 night. The doctors did all their tests. They said my heart took a 2- to 5-minute nap. (I hate that no one knows the exact number.) They said I was lucky and I’d be fine. Back to normal in a few days. But doctors are wrong sometimes.

     

    A week later, Nana and I were watching TV, and a commercial came on for a used-car dealership. The man was screaming, so I had to pay attention.

     

    “That’s $359 a month for 48 months, folks.” He was really loud. “Nobody beats Frank Fontana. Nobody.”

     

    I yelled back, “17,232.”

     

    “What?” Nana asked.

     

    “That’s how much the car costs,” I said.

     

    “Did you read it on the TV?”

     

    “I just know. 359 times 48 is 17,232.”

     

    Nana frowned and shook her head. But then she got up and went to find a calculator.

     

    “What were those numbers again?” she asked.

     

    I told her, and she punched them in. “And the answer?”

     

    “17,232.”

     

    “You’re right.” She sounded surprised. I wasn’t surprised, but I guess I should have been. I mean, I was only in 2nd grade, and we were still learning addition and subtraction.

     

    Nana turned off the television.

     

    “What’s 99 times 88?” she asked.

     

    “8,712. Can we have McDonald’s for dinner?” I asked.

     

    Nana ignored me and asked another math problem and then another. She kept using bigger numbers, more digits. But it never got harder.

     

    The doctors call my condition acquired savant syndrome. Savant means that my math skills are far beyond normal, and acquired means I wasn’t born with this wacky ability. I got it because I was holding a metal fence during a lightning storm. Cecelia didn’t get any special powers. We stopped being friends soon after that. I was busy trying to understand my new brain, and in the fall Nana and I moved.

     

    Acquired savant syndrome is caused by brain damage. I...

About the Author-

  • STACY MCANULTY is the author of many books for young readers including chapter book series The Dino Files and GoldieBlox and picture books including Excellent Ed, 101 Reasons I Don't Want to Take a Bath, and Beautiful. THE MISCALCULATIONS OF LIGHTNING GIRL is her middle grade debut. As a former mechanical engineer, Stacy writes about math and science with authority. Visit her online at stacymcanulty.com or follow her on social media at: Twitter: @stacymcanulty; Instagram: StacyMcAnulty; Facebook: StacyMcAnultyAuthor

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from April 2, 2018
    When 12-year-old Lucy was struck by lightning at age eight, her brain was damaged, resulting in her acquired savant syndrome. She becomes a mathematical genius and develops obsessive-compulsive disorder; she’s been homeschooled ever since. She feels safe at home with her uncle and grandmother, but Nana wants Lucy to become better integrated with her peers and enrolls her in seventh grade. Lucy hides her math abilities to blend in, and she’s bullied by popular girl Maddie, but when she and another student, Windy, team up with classmate Levi for a community service project, a true friendship grows. The three help out at the Pet Hut, a no-kill shelter where Lucy, who has never liked animals, bonds with Cutie Pi. After Cutie Pi is diagnosed with cancer—which means that she will likely be transferred to a state shelter and put down—and Windy betrays Lucy by revealing a secret, Lucy must learn how to solve problems of the heart. McAnulty realistically portrays Lucy’s OCD, and her struggles in middle school also ring true. Every character is fully formed, and Lucy’s journey is beautifully authentic in this debut brimming with warmth, wisdom, and math. Ages 8–12. Agent: Lori Kilkelly, Rodeen Literary Management.

  • AudioFile Magazine Ana Isabel's youthful narration creates a convincing picture of innocent 12-year-old Lucy. At 8, Lucy was struck by lightning and transformed into a math genius and germaphobe, but she's far from gifted in the ways of friendship. Aside from her uncle and grandmother, she prefers virtual relationships. Narrator Isabel affects an older, caring voice for Nana, who has raised and homeschooled Lucy since her parents' deaths. Now Nana requires Lucy to attend one year of middle school, make real friends, and get involved. Lucy's story develops primarily through scenes of her experiences at school: her OCD behavior, her friendship with two girls who overlook it, and the painful bullying by a cruel peer who doesn't. Listeners hear a tender tone when a situation involving an orphaned dog requires that Lucy overcome her emotional problems. S.W. � AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine

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