cover image Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray (Elements of Genius #1)

Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray (Elements of Genius #1)

Jess Keating, illus. by Lissy Marlin. Scholastic Press, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-338-29521-4

Genius kid Nikola “Nikki” Tesla doesn’t intend for her latest invention—a death ray—to vaporize her bedroom, but sometimes accidents happen, especially to Nikki. Even though she and her mother have moved several times, trying for a fresh start, their connection to Nikki’s father, a brilliant, troubled weapons-inventor known to have perished in a lab explosion, always follows them. In addition to reporters, Nikki’s latest incident attracts two mysterious agents, who invite her to enroll in a special boarding school: the Genius Academy. She was bullied badly at her last school, so she’s reluctant to accept this new offer. But after an agent blackmails her by threatening to arrest her mom, Nikki reluctantly agrees. At the Academy, she discovers a group of six other geniuses: Charlotte Darwin, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Grace O’Malley, Adam Mozart, and Mary Shelley. Instead of classes, the students are tasked with saving the world, X-Men–style. The latest threat? Nikki’s death ray has been stolen. This fast-paced caper features plot twists galore and a main character who confronts her past and learns that she can make friends along the way. A lively series kick-off. Ages 8–12. [em](July) [/em]