Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee

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Millicent Min, Girl Genius

by Lisa Yee

After reading all of the Julie books, I immediately had to read Good Luck, Ivy, the companion novel about Julie's best friend Ivy. While I'm not going to review it fully, I was really impressed by the way Yee wove in the historical details without distracting the reader away from the story, and so I decided to read Millicent Min (which I had been putting off for far too long).

As the title suggests, Millicent is a genius. At eleven, she has one year left of high school, and is taking her first college course (a poetry class) over the summer. She's excited to be starting college and finally being with her "intellectual peers" (rather than all those immature high schoolers), so she's looking forward to the summer. But then, her parents decide to sign her up for volleyball AND be forced to tutor Stanford Wong (family friend, and Millicent's sworn enemy).

However, volleyball ends up having one redeeming factor... Millicent meets Emily, a new girl in town, who has no idea that she's a genius, and even thinks that she's "cool." Afraid that she'll lose her first real friend if she tells the truth, Millicent gets swept up in a web of her own lies.

Yee's first person narration really brings Millicent to life, and her voice is realistic and nuanced, showing her to be both highly intelligent and socially confused at the same time. Even the supporting characters are fully realized (especially Stanford, Emily, and Millicent's grandmother Maddy), even as the reader sees them through Millicent's eyes.

Highly recommended for tweens and young teens, and just as Emily's mother gives Millicent a copy of one of the Ramona books*, this would be a great quick read for those wicked smart little kids who read classics for fun.

Both of the sequels to Millicent Min, take place during the same summer, chronicling the same events from the very different perspectives of Stanford Wong and Emily Ebers (respectively). I will admit to being a little disappointed with these sequels only because I had hoped that they took place after Millicent Min, so I could find out what happens next**, and how Millicent adjusts to some of the changes in her family. But, both of the novels were excellent in their own right, and can be read independently of each other.

To find the sequels in a library near you:

Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time

So Totally Emily Ebers

Other Blog Reviews

*This is only one of many references to classic children's literature in the novels. Stanford, for example, has to write several book reports for his summer school English class, including Holes and Number the Stars (and then ends up reading The Outsiders for fun!)

** Please, please, please can we have a sequel?


Anonymous said...

Lisa's writing is such fun.

Sara said...

Really! Do you have any insider knowledge about future books? :)

Cloudscome said...

Great review. I only read the Millicent book so I appreciate your talking about the other ones. I snagged your list of other blog links for my review today. Thanks for being so thorough!

Sara said...

Thanks for the comment (and sorry to take so long to respond, I've been completely neglecting this blog for way too long)! I'd definitely recommend the other two titles, both were quick fun reads, and bring a completely new perspective to the story.

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