Lisa Yee, . . Scholastic/Levine, $16.95 (248pp) ISBN 978-0-439-42519-3

Readers don't have to share Millicent Min's IQ to empathize with the 11-year-old genius narrator featured in this energetic first novel. Millicent breezes through high school and college classes, but when it comes to making friends her own age, she's at a loss. In an attempt to give her daughter "a more normal and well-rounded childhood," Millicent's mother signs her up for a volleyball league. Even though the narrator abhors the idea of playing a team sport ("As I see it, my childhood is round enough," she remarks), going to practice does give her the opportunity to form a solid camaraderie with new-girl-in-town Emily, who hates volleyball as much as Millicent does. Not wanting to jeopardize her precious new friendship, Millicent keeps her mental capabilities a secret; as might be expected, deception soon leads to disaster. When Emily turns her back on Millicent for pretending to be someone she's not, Millicent must solve a problem more difficult than any math equation or test question. How can she regain Emily's trust? Millicent's unique personality—a blend of rationality and naïveté—makes for some hilarious moments as the young protagonist interacts with a cast of colorful characters including her athletic, down-to-earth mother, her laid-back father, and her beloved grandmother, who borrows sage advice from the television show, Kung Fu. Yee re-examines the terms "smart" and "dumb," while offering a heartfelt story full of wit. Ages 9-12. (Oct.)