Book Title & Alexandra's Review

The Smartest Kid in the Universe (Smartest Kid in the Universe #1) by Chris Grabenstein

Middle School


12-year-old Jake’s middle school is about to be shut down. Jake and his friends know their school’s worth saving – if they could only figure out how! When Jake spies a bowl of jellybeans at the hotel where his mom works, he eats them. But uh-oh – those weren’t just jellybeans, one of the scientists at his mom’s conference is in the process of developing the first ingestible information pills. And THAT’S what Jake ate.
Before long, Jake is the smartest kid in the universe. But the pills haven’t been tested yet. And when word gets out about this new genius, people want him. The government. The mega corporations. Not all of them are good people! Can Jake navigate all the ins and outs of his newfound geniusdom (not to mention the ins and outs of middle school!) AND use his smarts to figure out how to save his school? (Hint-it will take someone smart enough to decipher an almost forgotten pirate legend!) It turns out, sometimes even the smartest kid has a lot to learn!


Before Jack ate the ingestible information pills, he was a lazy slacker who didn’t put any effort into learning. So there wasn’t much in his head to begin with.


I won’t go into the science of how the ingestible information pills were created or how they work mainly because it’s all theoretical and also I don’t understand it. Basically, the pills not only stuffed Jake’s head full of facts but also boosted his brain to take in new information at an astonishing rate.


Ingestible knowledge does sound amazing, but at the same time not possible. Creating a pill that enhances your brain’s ability to retain old and new information seems more realistic. But a pill that actually puts information directly into your brain just doesn’t seem possible. Although being able to take a pill and instantly know another language would have a numerous amount of uses.


The main reason this story spiked my interest is because it reminds me of the TV series Limitless. The show is about a man named Brain Finch who is introduced to NZT-48, a pill that gives him access to every neuron and unlocks the full potential of his brain. This show was amazing and sadly only lasted one season. But at least the writers wrapped up the story so there was no annoying cliffhanger.


I liked Jake’s character growth as he comes to terms with his new found smartness and learns the value of learning and starts putting effort into learning more. I especially loved how Jake kept spouting out trivia facts about food, countries and other random topics.


At first, the pirate treasure hunt threw me off a bit, especially since the story starts off with it. But thankfully all the subjects in the story end up working together to make a really great story.


The moral of the story: don’t eat candy that’s just lying around.


Are you as smart as the smartest kid in the universe? Test your smarts by solving the bonus puzzles at the end of the book. Answers can be found at the website below:

Don’t feel bad if you can’t figure them out. I read the answers on the book’s website and I still don’t understand the second square puzzle or the pencil puzzle. I did figure out half the riddles though.


Also, don’t miss Book 2, Genius Camp, coming 2021!


This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about Jellybeans

Enough jellybeans are made in the U.S. each year to fill an Easter egg 89 feet high 60 feet wide.

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