A fantastical and funny story features the unlikeliest of friends.
Thirteen-year-old math genius Aphrodite Wigglebottom believes that anyone can be a math whiz. She sets out to prove her theory by teaching an eighth-grade remedial math class. The students initially reject their teenage teacher, but Aphrodite slowly wins them over, both by knowing her stuff and by her willingness to use whatever means necessary to get her students’ attention, including literally gluing them into their desks. She even convinces them to compete in a math contest against the smartest kids in school. Aphrodite might know an awful lot of math, but she soon discovers that there is a lot about being 13 that she doesn’t know. Enter Mindy Loft, terrible at math but an expert at makeovers, baton twirling and, well, at being 13. The two girls narrate in alternating chapters, telling a lighthearted, funny and often bizarre saga of middle-school mayhem. Underneath the drama, though, is a gentle, uplifting message: Even though we can’t explain how or why some friendships form, the best of them help us to understand ourselves and change us in fundamental ways.
Equal parts silly and endearing, this one will appeal to fans of Wendy Mass and Megan McDonald. (Fiction. 8-12)