Olivia Bean, Trivia Queen
Blurb: Olivia Bean knows trivia. She watches Jeopardy! every night and usually beats at least one of the contestants. If she were better at geography, she would try out for the show’s kids’ week. Not only could she win bundles of money, she’d get to go to the taping in California, where her dad, who left two years ago and who Olivia misses like crazy, lives with his new family.
One day Olivia’s friend-turned-nemesis, Tucker, offers to help her bulk up her geography knowledge. Before Olivia knows it, she’s getting help from all sorts of unexpected sources: her almost-stepdad, superannoying Neil; her genius little brother, Charlie; even her stressed-out mom. Soon she has breezed through the audition rounds and is headed for Hollywood! But will the one person she wants to impress more than anyone else show up to support her?
Now, I don't read a lot of middle grade, and I hardly ever read contemporary. But I. Loved. This. Book. Donna has a gift for creating quirky but likable characters that everyone can relate to, and Olivia Bean is no exception. This brainy heroine is in middle school hell, working her way through a new (and awkward) family dynamic, changing friendships, and the weirdness of 7th-grade boys. Her trials are believable and contemporary, but still unique--how many kids dream of winning Jeopardy!? And right up to the end, I didn't know how it would all wrap up. I don't have much patience with predicability in fiction, so I really appreciated Donna's superb storytelling that kept me involved to the very end.
This book will be available for purchase on March 12th, but you can pre-order at Amazon, put it on your To-Read shelf at Goodreads, or head over to Donna's blog to read about her and all of her excellent books.
Congrats, Donna! You are a wonderful and talented human being and I wish you huge success!