Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Genius Summer ~ a book review

book reviews, YA fiction, Pamela Woods-Jackson

Millie Olson is smart, driven, and insecure. Being a soon to graduate 16 year old high school senior is only fueling Millie’s insecurities. It seems everyone she meets wants to know which of the many colleges she has been accepted to is her choice for this fall. Going to class, studying, and taking tests are the things Millie excels at. Choosing a college, dating, and being away from her family are the unknowns that she fears.

Genius Summer is a work of YA fiction where author Pamela Woods-Jackson takes the reader along on Millie’s journey of self-discovery. This intriguing story of Millie’s summer adventures would be best for ages 14-18. The writing quality is good and I was pleasantly surprised that this story does NOT have the profanity, violence, and sex so often found in fiction marketed to this age group.

Millie, the oldest of three, must balance the demands of her schoolwork, helping with her younger siblings, and her volunteer position at a local history museum. Their parents are both professionals, a writer and a lawyer. Millie was given a car for her 16th birthday with the understanding that she would use it to get herself and her siblings to school, sporting events, and to run errands for her mom, as their part-time housekeeper does not drive.

Throughout the book Millie struggles to fit in with her classmates, not just because of her younger age, but also because she has discovered a universal truth. Being a really smart girl often makes you the opposite of popular. I have seen this truth multiple times in my own life. I’ve worked with our own daughters to encourage them to not hide the brains God has gifted them just because it might make someone uncomfortable. This is one of the lessons Millie is learning during her Genius Summer.

Another lesson Millie learns is that people change. Shortly after graduation Millie and her siblings leave Indianapolis and travel to Oklahoma to spend a few weeks with their grandmother. While there, Millie has to change her perception of her grandmother’s neighbor Zach MacMillan from what she remembers about him from past visits to who he is today. Millie learns the truth that while she was growing up, other people were as well. 

In a trunk in her grandmother’s attic, Millie finds a journal written by a young girl her own age from the 1860’s. The young girls’ story sets Millie on a quest, with some help from Zach, to learn more about her life. 

That’s all I’m going to tell you about the plot because the rest would be spoilers! I will recommend this book as a great summer read. The characters are thoughtfully written and you will walk away believing they truly exist. 

During her Genius Summer, Millie learns a lot about friendship and choosing her own path for the future. These are great lessons for any teen, and the message is well wrapped in this story.

Genius Summer is available on Amazon, either in print or Kindle format.

I received a copy of Genius Summer in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine. No other compensation was received. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.