Elliot heads to a genius camp under a pseudonym to win a scholarship.
Narrator Elliot Gabaroche, 17, has two choices after high school: follow in the footsteps of her mom and enlist or appease her lawyer dad and stepmom with a “practical” degree at a school near her Sacramento home. But Elliot wants to go to Rayevich College to study science fiction. Ingenious Elliot rechristens herself Ever Lawrence and absconds to Oregon for a competitive summer camp at Rayevich. The prize? A full scholarship. There, Ever’s unpleasantly surprised to discover her loathed cousin, Isaiah. Ever and Isaiah pretend to be twins, and an Importance of Being Earnest–esque comedy of hidden identities ensues. The refreshingly racially diverse cast (Ever and Isaiah are black, and other campers are people of color) of nerdy geniuses are serious geeks, and references to fandoms and sci-fi authors abound. Ever’s in paradise in the library’s sci-fi special collection, which doubles as a rendezvous spot with her adorkable love interest, white Brandon. But even though tall, athletic Ever excels, her cover is invariably blown. Further uncovered hidden identities bring the book to a close with an unexpected, but happy, twist. Smart, strong, and confident, Ever is a likable protagonist who doesn’t fall into tired tropes and stereotypes, and fans of The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You (2016) will joyfully greet the return of major characters.
Good geeky fun. (Fiction. 14-adult)