Thursday, May 06, 2010

Summer Of The Geek - Piper Banks


Summer Of The Geek
Piper Banks
New American Library

Young Adult

Miranda Bloom (Geek High) is “gifted.” Her gift is the ability to do complex mathematical problems in her head. As she’ll be the first to tell you, in the age of calculators and computers, it’s not that big a gift. But it’s enough to get her into Geek High with a bunch of other kids, whose gifts range from computer programming (her friend, Finn, has amassed a fortune from his games) to painting to music. Her painter friend, Charlie, is stuck working at a bowling alley over summer break. Not the ideal. But everyone needs something to do, so Miranda takes a job as an ‘au pair’ to ten-year-old musical prodigy Amelia.

Pretty much all Amelia wants to do is practice, and her parents seem fine with that. But they do see the wisdom in introducing Amelia to another gifted person. That’s where Miranda comes in, and Miranda firmly believes that having a gift is great, but it’s not all there is to life. In Miranda’s case, there’s her cute boyfriend, Dex, who’s spending the summer as a lifeguard. Meaning that he’ll be surrounded by girls in bikinis all summer. Again, not ideal. And Miranda has the sneaking suspicion that Dex is hiding something from her.

Then again, Miranda is hiding something pretty big from him. Her mom, Sadie, an author living in London, invited Miranda to come and live with her. There are lots of pros, including getting out from under the disapproving eye of her stepmom, Peyton. But it means she’d have to leave her friends and Dex. Maybe Dex wouldn’t be all that broken up about it, seeing that his model (seriously) girlfriend, Wendy, is back in town for the entire summer and looks fantastic in a bikini. Isn’t summer supposed to be relaxing and fun?

Somehow, I missed the second book in this series, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Miranda is a great character. She’s very matter-of-fact about her ‘human calculator’ gift, and doesn’t think it makes her all that special. She’s still going through everything you go through when you’re fifteen and have your first serious boyfriend and your first summer job. She’s smart and witty and has great friends. But, as any high school girl knows, having doubts about your boyfriend can make everything seem grey. Miranda has a big decision to make, and her struggle with it seems absolutely genuine. Meanwhile, her friends Finn and Charlie add a nice dose of humor and reality. I highly recommend this series for anyone in this age group, or who remembers what it’s like to be there.

Rating: 8
May 2010
ISBN# 978-0-451-22984-7

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