What would it be like to be eleven years old and about to become a senior in high school?
Millie is a genius who learned to read when she was only three, and got kicked out of kindergarten because she was too smart. She started high school when she was only ten, skipped tenth grade, and will graduate next year. But if she’s a genius at mathematics and never gets a grade lower than A, she’s a flop at social skills. From getting pelted with food in the elementary school cafeteria every day because she insulted a bully, to being ostracized because she breaks the curve in every subject in high school, everyone makes it clear that she’s not someone they want as a friend. And Millie herself knows she doesn’t have much in common with average kids.
But all that changes when her mother enrolls her in a girls volleyball program for the summer. There, no one knows how smart she is, all they know is that she can’t play volleyball! And she isn’t the only outsider — Emily is just as bad as she is. Suddenly Millie has a friend, exchanges friendship necklaces, has sleepovers with Emily, and discovers what it means to be normal.
But being normal also means hiding a big part of herself. She has to worry constantly about what Emily will do if she ever finds out that Millie is not in middle school, but is a high school senior. She still wonders if she will ever find a place where she will really fit in and be part of the crowd.
Can a girl genius and a normal 12-year-old ever be best friends who tell each other the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, the way they promised they would?
This booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart.