a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl (2018)
Stacy McAnulty

A girl who developed "genius level" mathematical abilities after being struck by lightning has a thing or two to learn about life in this novel for young adults.

Lucy Callahan finds that after her accident she could easily multiply large integers in her head (e.g. figuring out the total cost of a car advertised on TV in terms of its monthly payment), recite the digits of π, and finds calculus a breeze even at age 12. But, she is also a homeschooled, anti-social germaphobe clearly suffering from OCD. With help from her Grandmother, she needs to break out of her shell so that she can go to college!

The author has a background in mechanical engineering, and so knows math well enough to get it right. I just worry that this story will reinforce the idea that mathematical ability is not something that young people can and should try to develop, but instead some sort of disease that afflicts a few unlucky individuals and should be avoided whenever possible.

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Works Similar to The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Recess (Episode: A Genius Among Us) by Brian Hamill
  2. The Absolute Value of Mike by Kathryn Erskine
  3. Very in Pieces by Megan Frazer Blakemore
  4. The Clueless Girl's Guide to Being a Genius by Janice Repka
  5. Sophie Simon Solves them All by Lisa Graff
  6. Forever Changes by Brendan Halpin
  7. Hannah, Divided by Adele Griffin
  8. Monster's Proof by Richard Lewis
  9. Prince of Mathematics: Carl Friedrich Gauss by Margaret B.W. Tent
  10. Invisibly Breathing by Eileen Merriman
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GenreChildren's Literature,
MotifGenius, Prodigies, Anti-social Mathematicians, Mental Illness,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)