Millicent Min, Girl Genius
By Lisa Yee

Reading level: 5.5
Ages: 9-12
Interest level: 9-12

Genre: Realistic fiction

Millicent Min had her IQ tested at age 2. They did it twice because it was so high. Her parents were not so smart. They thought it would be a good idea to parade Millie around on talk shows and enter her into academic contests so that, by age 11, all Millie knew about herself was that she was a genius. Millie didn’t spend much time developing her social skills. And, as an only child, she didn’t have any siblings to practice on. She was lonely. Finally, Millie makes a friend. Emily is on her volleyball team and is as bad a player as Millie. Millie feels that she will only keep her friend if she doesn’t know that she is a genius. She hides her true self from Emily. When Emily discovers her secret, Millie risks losing her best and only friend.

This book was from my diversity reading list. I am not quite sure why. Yes, Millie’s family is Chinese-American, but that factors very little in the reading. Is it because she is isolated since she is a genius? Am I only thinking that diversity only pertains to race, or can diversity mean including all types of people regardless of age or IQ? Emily’s parents are divorced. She longs for an intact family with a doting father. Millie is embarrassed that her family is so loving and demonstrative. She longs for a brilliant mother like Emily’s that she can talk seriously with. So, in the end, we have a single mom with an overweight kid who has a crush on a basketball playing dolt who is being tutored by a 11 year old genius and who are all friends.

Yee, L. (2003). Millicent Min, girl genius. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books