Action Packed and STEM Focused
Jess Keating is one of the authors on our favourites list. The Bear loves Cute as an Axolotl and The Bear regularly requests Shark Lady at bedtime. When I saw she had a new middle grade book I knew I had to have it.
Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray is the story of Nikki, a genius who doesn’t fit in regular school. She’s homeschooled because of the bullying experienced at mainstream school, on account of her genius intellect and the curse of her father following her everywhere she goes.. When Genius Academy comes calling offering Nikki a place in their school it’s in everyone’s best interest she goes. With a guarded heart she joins the current six Genius Academy students on a mission to recover the death ray she invented. Learning to be confident in who she is and learning to trust others, Nikki helps save the world from an evil genius.
Jess Keating has a winning series on her hands. Leaving us with a cliffhanger at the end you know there will at least be one more Nikki Tesla adventure coming our way. She has written a strong protagonist who is not unrealistically perfect. Nikki Tesla has her fears and insecurities just like the rest of us. She is trying to find her place in the world and is so relatable to middle graders and let’s be honest, adults as well. The supporting cast around Nikki Tesla is equally brilliant and I love how the author has taken famous names from history and reimagined them as middle school children in the 21st century. They all have their own hardships to overcome but all know how to work together as a team, fighting alongside each other to save the world. I cannot wait for more Nikki Tesla adventures because I want to know all the Genius’ backstories. We got a taste of Leo’s backstory in this book and I can’t wait to learn more about Nikki’s new friends and this mysterious father of hers who causes so much of her troubles. A realistic fantasy novel with a little science fiction thrown in for good measure, this is a book that will appeal to many middle grade readers.
Also, I would just add that it is so incredibly refreshing to have amazing science focused fiction and non-fiction being produced by some incredible Canadian women. For too long women have not been seen in the STEM field but that is beginning to change thanks to authors like Jess Keating who make learning incredibly fun and accessible to all readers.
Huge Bonus: If you are in the GTA area and are looking for something to do on Sunday, September 15th, head down to Westfield Heritage Village in Rockton, ON for The Telling Tales Festival and meet Jess Keating in person and learn all about her career as an author and what inspires her writing!!