Scholastic. Apr. 2024. 304p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781338853827.
Gr 6 Up–This novel opens with peppy song lyrics, artfully changed to include mathematical terminology. That’s this book in a nutshell: a deftly handled story, presenting intense military and mathematical strategy in a digestible way. It’s the tale of 17-year-old Eleanor Schiff, a fictionalized version of the real women used to compute missile ballistics during World War II. She’s a young Jewish American woman used to hiding her math skills, out of guilt for an unfortunate family tragedy. The army discovers her gifts and recruits her, sending Eleanor on a cross-country journey of undercover math. Her journeys reveal how people can go about their normal lives, even with atrocities happening around them. There’s also no timidness about the raw underbelly of American bigotry against just about everyone. Eleanor squirms at casual racism against German Americans, fights against her Black coworker’s mistreatment, and startles at hate speech from soldiers. One of her friends points out that, “fighting words are becoming acceptable. Normalized, even.” Readers may find that sounds eerily similar to the present. But Eleanor’s story shows what can happen when a single person perseveres. Thrillingly paced, this novel not only makes math exciting but also connects the past to today while urging for constant progression.
VERDICT A fast-paced journey through STEM and WWII history.

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