MIND GAMES by Jeanne Marie Grunwell


Age Range: 11 - 14
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The six members of the Clearview Middle School Mad Science Club are inadvertently brought together during an after-school registration snafu. Claire Phelps, twin and mentally challenged sister, Kathleen, and friend Ji Eun Oh are all signed up by science teacher, Mr. Ennis, after being sent to the office for a classroom disruption. Brandon Kelly, still grieving his mother’s accidental death, wants to be in basketball but is placed in Mad Science by the principal who is also his grandmother. Marina Krenina, newly arrived from Russia, with minimal English skills that prevent her from understanding the application, is assigned to the club after she copies the only interested and science-oriented participant in the group, Benjamin Lloyd. The club’s charge is to prepare a science project for the school’s fair in January. After much complaining and lack of interest, the group settles on the subject of ESP and whether it really exists. Newcomer Grunwell has created a short character-based plot using a variety of formats similar to the cleverly created scenarios by Kate Klise (Regarding the Fountain, 1998, etc.). Each student’s unique personality and emotional situation are briefly explored through the contributing reports, data, and newspaper articles for the science project. Unlike the mystery, suspense, and humor that Klise provides, this story lacks a compelling theme to maintain an interest even as the last half neatly ties all the students and their thoughts together through their conclusive results for their winning project. A good source list of actual adult and children’s publications related to the subject is included as part of the report’s bibliography and will be appreciated by those who remain curious and attentive enough to read through the whole story. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: April 21st, 2003
ISBN: 0-618-17672-1
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2003