Wednesday, October 23, 2013

a.k.a. Genius

Step into the shoes of one Gabe Carpenter as he navigates the daily challenges of life as a seventh grader in the book a.k.a. Genius.  Gabe is your typical 7th grade boy dealing with the normal challenges of life: an annoying sister, a locker that won't open, parents who don't quite understand him, changing social status at school, and that ever annoying lunch room.

Years after being released from the confines of a school environment, I felt all of the insecurities of life in school rushing back at me as I read this book.  Being one of those lucky people who attended 4 schools between 7th and 12th grade, I remember well that constant fear of will I fit in, will everything work out, and for goodness sake who on earth will I sit with at lunch.  The shifting sands as all of the other kids are trying to determine where they stand in the pecking order so the folks who were your friends yesterday suddenly won't speak to you today. I will honestly say that I've not read a young adult book recently that so accurately captured that struggle every kid deals with while navigating the halls junior high.  Or am I dating myself by even calling it that anymore?

After reading the book myself, I handed it to one of my sons to read.  He loved the book as well. His favorite character in the book was Linc, best friend of Gabe Carpenter.  I do believe he said he enjoyed his sense of humor.

Although this book does have a typical cheesy everything is perfect eventually ending, I did find it otherwise an enjoyable read. Gabe doesn't ever figure everything out or get his act completely together but does eventually start to come to terms with being ok with the person God has created him to be. In a library full of empty preteen literary suggestions, this one stands out in my mind as a positive yet realistic choice for young readers.  A welcome change from the current popular offerings out there.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on a.k.a. Genius. The Catholic Company is the best resource for all your seasonal needs such as First Communion gifts as well as ideas and gifts for the special papal Year of Faith.

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