Nobel Genes by Rune Michaels (NY: Athenium, 2010).
Told in the first-person from the perspective of a boy who is never named,this novel intriguingly plays on the concept of self-discovery--a common enough theme in YA fiction. The boy is living with his manic-depressive mother who has always told him that he's the product of a sperm donation by a Nobel laureate. She expects he will great scientist, and has had him tested and tutored from an early age. He's a bright boy, but not particularly gifted, and he devotes hours to pondering a book of Nobel Prize-winners, wondering which one he looks like, which one's gifts he has inherited. As his mother's illness, progresses, the boy has to deal with other pressures as well.
Michaels portrays the world of a boy living and dealing with a disturbed individual with a poignancy that evokes empathy. It's a sad story with a sad ending, but the reader is left with the sense that the boy has the strength to overcome his difficult beginnings. Recommended for grades 7 & up. Some mature themes, situations.
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