Tween Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at GreenBeanTeenQueen to highlight great reads for tweens.
Warp Speed. Yee, Lisa. 320 p. Arthur A. Levine. 2011. Hardcover $16.99. ISBN
Fourth in the series that began with Millicent Min, Girl Genius, the focus shifts to Marley, an earnest seventh grade Star Trek fan who feels invisible and is often bullied as he navigates the complex social structure of junior high. As always, Yee tackles some serious issues while keeping the book's overall tone light and funny, and there are some laugh-out-loud funny Star Trek vs. Star Wars vs. Batman debates in this one. Yee really has a gift for understanding how kids think and experience the world around them.
Although it's not necessary to have read the other books in the series, it's a pleasure to revisit characters from the previous volumes, as Marley encounters Stanford Wong, Emily Ebers, and the most excellent Millicent Min. Is it wrong that I'm sorta shipping Millicent/Marley?? Come on! They'd be adorable together! And I can't get enough of Emily Ebers. She's just so likable, non-judgmental, and nice to everyone she meets. My new motto: WWEED?
In addition to the well-rounded, genuine youth characters in this book, I love that the story includes adults who are different- Marley's blind mom and agoraphobic dad- but clearly find their niche and truly enjoy their life, providing positive models for Marley as he tries to find his place. The book's central theme is that you don't have to fit in to be happy, and that's a message that bears repeating over and over.
Warp Speed is a great choice for middle school book groups. Hilarious, endearing, and thought-provoking, it will lead to some great discussions about self-esteem and bullying.