cover image The School for the Insanely Gifted

The School for the Insanely Gifted

Dan Elish. Harper, $15.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-113873-7

Eleven-year-old Daphna Whispers is a musical genius at the Blatt School for the Insanely Gifted in New York City. In preparation for the upcoming Insanity Cup competition, Daphna's best friends Harkin and Cynthia are working on a Gum-Top ("The computer that you chew") and a one-woman musical version of Macbeth, respectively. Daphna is trying to compose her masterpiece, a rhapsody, but is distracted by her mother's mysterious disappearance and a series of bizarre occurrences: a man dressed as an antelope breaks into her apartment, school founder Ignatious Blatt (a cross between Steve Jobs and Willy Wonka) is taking forever to release his new invention, and his son, Myron, is snooping around Daphna's studio. Daphna, Harkin, and Cynthia follow clues left by Daphna's mother to Africa in Harkin's Thunkmobile in search of answers. It's a fairly standard adventure about preternaturally talented kids making the most of their gifts, but Elish (13: A Novel) offers an abundance of imaginative and humorous details and a plot full of twists and turns, while Daphna's search for her mother and her passion for music keep the story grounded. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. (July)