Gr 5-8-Rebus-loving seventh grader Minerva Clark humorously describes the worst day of her life, which includes making a fool of herself in front of peers at an arcade, seeing her favorite cousin getting arrested, and suffering from electric shock. But events soon take a dangerously suspenseful twist when Minerva's personality changes as a result of the jolt of electricity. No longer suffering from self-conscious, self-deprecating adolescent woes, she becomes comfortable with herself and generally more confident. This confidence and ability to look beyond outside appearances enables her to help solve a mystery and deal with the popular girls, peer pressure, trendy clothes, and her kleptomaniacal pet ferret. References to pop culture abound, including allusions to instant messaging, cliques, camera cell phones, and movies like The Matrix. (A reference to choosing the Red Pill or the Blue Pill becomes symbolic of Minerva's adventures.) Despite these and a few words that some parents will frown upon, this tale is interesting and witty enough to recommend to reluctant readers. Interspersed with Minerva's amusing revelations is an entertaining mystery with engaging characters and a positive theme.-Jessi Platt, Auburn Public Library, AL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Identity development and identity theft are the pivots of this summer-fare whodunit. Thirteen-year-old Minerva Clark is pretty typical; she loves her oddball older brothers, puzzles and her pet ferret. She hates her hair, her legs and the way her friends seem to have become mean-girl-junior-high-school-goddesses overnight. She hates that she's already 5'8", that mom's left the family to teach yoga in New Mexico and that she can't seem to stand up for herself-until, that is, she is accidentally electrocuted by her very own big brother. With one well-placed electrode and a single clap of thunder, Minerva's mind is purged of self-hatred and self-consciousness, allowing her to become a sort of cross between Nancy Drew and Adrian Monk, investigating a complex web of check fraud, theft and murder involving her previously-thought-perfect glamour-girl cousin, Jordan ("On the days I didn't want to be her, I hated her.") (Fiction. 10-13)