Book cover Max Einstein the Genius Experiment

Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment is a middle grade book that takes the female scientist character to a whole ‘nother level. But does the book grab our hearts?

Maxine Einstein, an orphan who has no idea where she came from, lives with other homeless folks above a stable in New York City. She’s hacked computers to get herself into courses at NYU, though she is only twelve years old. She plays speed chess in the park with an old man who’s a chess whiz, on her way to school.

Then the bad guys come calling, at the same time as the good guys. It seems her level of genius is in demand. Can the good guys–a group funded by a mysterious benefactor–use her talents and those of other child geniuses to solve major problems in the world? Or will the bad guy, Dr. Zimm, capture her and use her to fix up his supercomputer? The bad guy, that is, who keeps hinting that he knows where she came from?

I enjoyed reading this book. I am an engineer and like solving problems, and there are plenty of interesting problems for the young geniuses to tackle. I’m also a writer, and I like to see a character who goes through an arc, who can do something at the end that she couldn’t do at the beginning. I’m not seeing much of an arc in this book.

Perhaps it’s because it’s a series, and Maxine and company will be up to further adventures, no doubt dodging the bad guy who knows where she came from.

The book contains no hot-button issues that homeschoolers might object to. It’s best for kids who are interested in science, containing plenty of explanations of how things work. The level of suspense is medium.

I’ll give it four stars. ****

Short Story by Phyllis Wheeler

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