Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tween Tuesday Review: Olivia Bean Trivia Queen

Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens. Join the fun  

Olivia Bean loves Jeopardy.  She and her Dad used to watch the show together, before everything changed. Now it's her one time to relax during the day, even if she sometimes has to share the show with her mother's boyfriend Neil.

When they announce the kids' tournament, Olivia can't wait to sign up. It's the last year she'll be eligible to participate in the challenge. Through a series of fortune events, she finds herself as one of the chosen ones.

Olivia crams with trivia from across the board. Her mom helps her by creating flashcards. Charlie showers her with gross facts. Neil brings home trivia books from the library, where he works. Her neighbor Tucker helps her brush up on her worse subject, geography.

With all of the trivia swirling in her head, will Olivia achieve her dream?

My Thoughts: This book packs a punch and I wasn't expecting it. I wasn't expecting to become teary eyed during one of the final scenes. I adored this book (which the author wrote as a challenge during NaNoWriMo).  

On the surface, it's a great story about a girl who loves trivia and strives to achieve her dream. As you dig deeper, it's about a family that comes together. Olivia misses her Dad like crazy. As you uncover more about the reasons the family broke up, you realize that her father is a horrible parent. Olivia doesn't loose hope. She's still believes that her father will be there for her. When her mother loses her job, she hides away from the world. Neil steps in to take care of Olivia and Charlie, her adorable but annoying brother.  At first, Olivia doesn't like Neil. She doesn't want him living in their house, but eventually, she begins to recognize that he genuinely cares for her.  While Olivia sees Charlie as an annoying little brother, most of the time, she understands that he's trying to help her and be apart of her life. After her mother recovers, she works hard to make sure her daughter doesn't miss her chance.  They all pull together, forming an unconventional family.

The book is also about friendship. Olivia's best friend moved across the country and won't talk to her. Olivia can't imagine why her best friend is not longer interested in her. She refuses to talk to Olivia when she calls, until one day when she finally explains herself. Olivia's also thrown by Tucker's behavior. As neighbors, they used to be great friends growing up until he made fun of her. Now he's sometimes nice when they're alone, but occasionally he's mean. Olivia has a hard time figuring out if he wants to be friends or if he's just picking on her. 

Family and Friendship create layers within this book. The secondary characters add humor, sadness, and depth to the book. A wonderful read where I enjoyed the trivia bits, the fact that Neil was a librarian, and uncovering Olivia's past. 

Cover Thoughts: LOVE it!

Source: Random House 


Wild About Words said...

Thanks so much for the lovely review!

With appreciation,

Jessica said...

This sounds really great...I'm going to have to squeeze it into my TBR pile somewhere!