Praise for Millicent Min, Girl Genius
"An utterly charming debut, as well as being the kind of tour de force that leaves one breathless... Yee's mastery of the 'girl genius' voice is flawless, by turns hilarious and poignant." -- Boston Globe
*"A heartfelt story full of wit." -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Funny, charming, and heartwarming, with something to say about the virtues of trust and truth telling, this deserves an A." -- Kirkus Reviews
An 11-year-old breezes through high school and college classes, but when it comes to making friends her own age, she's at a loss. "Readers don't have to share the heroine's IQ to empathize with the genius narrator of this energetic first novel," wrote PW in a starred review. Ages 9-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
At the tender age of eleven, Millicent Min has completed her junior year of high school. Summer school is Millie's idea of fun, so she is excited that her parents are allowing her to take a college poetry course. But Millie soon concludes that college is "just like high school, only bigger." Even in a college classroom, she is far more earnest and dedicated than any of the other students, and she is still regarded as an oddball. Meanwhile her mother signs her up for volleyball "to give her a more normal and well-rounded childhood." Although Millie is a klutz on the volleyball court, there she meets Emily, who shares her dislike of sports. Fearing to lose this first real friend, Millie lies to Emily about her academic genius. Eventually Millie's deceptions catch up with her, and she is forced to apply herself to something other than homework: learning how to become a true friend. The tension between Millie's formal, overly intellectual way of expressing herself and her emotional immaturity makes her a very funny narrator. Millie's obsession with book learning goes far beyond the stereotypical studiousness of Asian Americans. Her laid-back father, artistic mother, and wise, warm-hearted grandmother all encourage Millie to put down her books and broaden her interests. Fellow Chinese student Stanford Wong prefers basketball to schoolwork, and mutters to Millie, "Because of you, teachers expect every Chinese kid to be a genius." Readers considerably older than Millicent's eleven years will enjoy this strong debut novel. VOYA Codes 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to9). 2003, Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic, 248p., Ages 11 to 15.
Millicent Min is an atypical eleven-year-old girl who doesn't like boys, nail polish, stuffed animals, shopping, sports, or Stanford Wong, her archenemy. She is also taking a college poetry course the summer before her senior year in high school! Millicent is a genius, and her parents are proud, but they feel that she is missing her childhood. In an effort to help Millicent act like a preteen, her mother and best friend/grandmother, Maddie, enroll Millicent in a summer volleyball team and then volunteer her to tutor Stanford Wong. Millicent's last summer in Rancho Rosetta, California may be one that she will never forget. She has to tutor her nemesis, play on a volleyball team full of beautiful girls who hate her, and deal with her grandmother's move to another city. On top of all this, she thinks her mother is dying. With a summer like that, who needs the school year? But if Millicent will just stop analyzing her life and live it, she may find out that being a preteen volleyball player is as much fun as being a preteen genius. Lisa Yee uses the diary of a girl as the format for this novel. Her use of language allows readers to believe that they are reading the diary of a young girl, while the details remind the reader that the young girl is a genius. Yee's use of slang and simple English establishes a connection between Millicent and the reader. This mixture of language helps to show the reader the different dimensions of Millicent. Even though she has the brain of a genius, Millicent still has the heart of a child. 2003, Arthur A Levine Books, Ages 9 to 12.
Gr 5-8-Millie, an 11-year-old with a genius IQ, is taking a college poetry class and waiting for her high school senior year. Because she never hesitates to show how much she knows about a particular subject, her peers tend to stay away. Millie's social ineptitude is a cause of concern for her parents. Against her will, she is enrolled in summer volleyball and enlisted to tutor Stanford Wong, a friend of the family. Into this mix enters Emily, a volleyball teammate and typical preteen. The girls become friends but Millie neglects to tell Emily about her genius status. Eventually the truth surfaces and Emily feels betrayed. Millie thinks that Emily is angry because she is smart, never realizing that the betrayal comes from her lack of trust in their friendship. While some readers will have trouble identifying with Millie, her trials and tribulations result in a story that is both funny and heartwarming. A universal truth conveyed is that honesty and acceptance of oneself and of others requires a maturity measured not by IQ but by generosity of spirit.-Sharon Morrison, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant, OK Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From Yee's first sentence-"I have been accused of being anal retentive, an overachiever, and a compulsive perfectionist, like those are bad things"-this perfectly captures the humor, unique voice, and dilemma of Millicent Min, its wunderkind heroine. For while there is no doubt that Millicent, an 11-year-old entering 12th grade, is a genius, her social and athletic skills leave something to be desired. In an effort to ameliorate the situation, her parents sign her up for a girls' volleyball league. There Millicent meets Emily, a potential friend, and to seem more normal decides to lie about her academic ability. Comic complications multiply when Millicent's parents induce her to tutor the son of a family friend, who also likes Emily and is delighted to let her think that he's the one doing the tutoring. Funny, charming, and heartwarming, with something to say about the virtues of trust and truth telling, this deserves an A. (Fiction. 9-13)