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Solving Zoe (2009)

by Barbara Dee(Favorite Author)
3.87 of 5 Votes: 2
1416961283 (ISBN13: 9781416961284)
Margaret K. McElderry Books
review 1: I read this a while ago, but I had to give it a review anyway. Zoe Bennett goes to school at Hubbard. Hubbard is not your usual school. Oh no. Each Hubbard student seems to have some kind of talent, there are no grades, report cards, bells, or red pens, according to Zoe. Kids can study anything from African Drumming to Robotics. The teachers are all super cool and you call them all by their first name. Not all of them are super nice--or at least it seems that way to Zoe. Her math teacher, Anya, (or something like that) has two tattoos, yet she puts up Do Nows and gets mad when Zoe doodles in class, when Zoe's figuring out a number-color system in her head.Zoe doesn't really have a talent. Her older sister, Isadora, is the star of every play, and her older brother Malcolm i... mores a math genius. Zoe and her best friend Dara stay in the shadows unlike some of the other kids, like Allegra "Leg" Hillenbrand and her best friend, Paloma, who are amazing dancers. Then, Dara auditions for the school musical. There's even more competition for roles, as the middle school and upper school are both going to be partaking in the play for the first time, yet Dara lands a part. Unfortunately, Isadora's lead role is taken by her so-called friend Palmer, who didn't even tell Isadora she was auditioning.All right. This is all kind of boring, right? Let's focus on Lucas. Lucas is a genius who can decipher codes and ciphers. He's been on expeditions all over the world with his parents, but when the Ancient Civilizations teacher, who happens to know Lucas and his family, suggests Lucas spend some time in a school, Lucas is all of a sudden at Hubbard. And when he drops his notebook--a notebook that Zoe is pretty sure says something about her--Zoe picks it up, only to see weird numbers and figures. And then her name, Zoe. When she confronts Lucas, he's convinced he's a genius like him...or a freak.When weird notes start appearing in the lockers of some of the girls, including Leg, Paloma, and then even Dara, at first the suspect is Ezra (as the first note has to do with weapons, and Ezra is always reading books about weapons.) Then, after Dara's note, which mentions the "eye of the gecko" (Zoe pet-sits for a bunch of lizards after school), Zoe's the suspect. One girl, Mackenzie, even challenges Zoe to rewrite a letter to compare handwriting, which Zoe doesn't want to do, which "confirms the suspicions." Zoe's growth is very realistic. In fact, everything about the book is realistic--even with the whole code/ciphers thing going on, which makes it very cool. Zoe's gradual separation with Dara, her fights with Leg and Paloma, her bitterness, and how she feels overshadowed by her two older siblings. All of the characters were all very real. I loved how everyone had a talent--how the "mean girl" in this book wasn't necessarily talentless, only good at cheerleading and being mean. Leg and Paloma are both good dancers.Overall, this was a really good book, something I loved, something I will treasure.
review 2: Think it might be a little mature for 4th graders (maybe end of the year) just in terms of relating to the main character, but I would love this for 5th graders (as it's about 6th). It handles social issues and popularity in a realistic, not over-the-top stereotypical way I thought was nicely done, as well as self-identification and confidence. Plus the use of ciphers and codes would definitely lure some kids (me) in; I know one of my kids last year started using one of them occasionally for fun. less
Reviews (see all)
I really enjoyed this book. Learning all the new ciphers were really interesting.
I liked it. There were many different problems for the character.
It was amazing! Definitely a re-read!
It is good so far but not great :(
i loved it!
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