Olivia Bean Trivia Queen - Donna Gephart

Published: March 13th 2012

Synopsis: Olivia Bean knows trivia. She watches Jeopardy! every night and usually beats at least one of the contestants. If she were better at geography, she would try out for the show’s kids’ week. Not only could she win bundles of money, she’d get to go to the taping in California, where her dad, who left two years ago and who Olivia misses like crazy, lives with his new family.

One day Olivia’s friend-turned-nemesis, Tucker, offers to help her bulk up her geography knowledge. Before Olivia knows it, she’s getting help from all sorts of unexpected sources: her almost-stepdad, superannoying Neil; her genius little brother, Charlie; even her stressed-out mom. Soon she has breezed through the audition rounds and is headed for Hollywood! But will the one person she wants to impress more than anyone else show up to support her?

Review: This is truly a book that will make you smile. Olivia Bean knows a lot of trivia for her age… more than most adults even know for that matter. Her favourite TV show is Jeopardy!, which is her obsession. When Jeopardy! announces it’s Kid’s Week on the show, she just HAS to be a part of it!

The really endearing part of this book is that whilst it seems cute on the surface, there’s really some bigger sub plots at hand. For instance, Olivia’s parents are divorced. Her father cheated on her mother with the mother of Oliva’s best friend (are you still with me?) and then moved all the way to the other side of the country taking Oliva’s best friend with them. He never calls Oliva or her adorable younger brother Charlie when he says he’s going to, and honestly, he is too busy with gambling his money away to even care about them. When Olivia calls him, she’s nothing more than an inconvenience to him.

To make matters worse, her mother has been acting strange lately, locking herself up in her room and crying all the time. Her mother’s boyfriend is doing the best he can but Olivia’s not even sure if she likes him or not.

And at school she’s tormented by her arch-nemesis Tucker, the boy next door, who is smarter than her at geography.

Determined not to let this get the best of her though, she pours herself into trivia, and Jeopardy! each night. Can she pass the auditions for Kids Week?

Whilst this is an easy read, I definitely wouldn’t pass this off as a light read. Whilst there are some really awesome trivia facts scattered throughout the book, and the chapters are all written in the format of Jeopardy! style answers, don’t pass this book over as just a cute read. It definitely offers more!

I really adored Olivia’s brother Charlie, who looks up to Olivia so much and really just wants to be like her. He is only 5 but he is already an advanced reader and a collecter of “gross” trivia. He has some really fantastic moments throughout this book that do lighten things up at times.

Overall a really unique contemporary style YA novel that I think really anyone over the age of maybe 12 would love. I am really far outside the teen realm at my age, and I still really enjoyed this book!

Rating: 4 out of 5

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