100-Character Breakdown: A fast-paced novel that stands out with its exciting, diverse characters and a techie, sci-fi focus.
Genre: Young adult
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (May 2016)
With a heavy sci-fi element and a cast of diverse characters, Leopoldo Gout’s Genius: The Game is an exciting, page-turning young adult novel. The novel tells the story through its three narrators as they take part in a competition between 200 of the world’s young geniuses. Rex is a 16-year-old Mexican American coder whose parents are illegal immigrants and whose brother is missing. Tunde, a 14-year-old Nigerian engineer, is trying to find a way to save his village from a military warlord. And Painted Wolf is a 16-year-old Chinese activist blogger who spends her days revealing corruption while keeping her identity a secret. At the competition, Painted Wolf begins to suspect Kiran Biswas, an 18-year-old technological visionary and host of The Game, has some hidden motives.
While the novel sometimes missteps in the strength of the voice and there are moments where the tension falters, Genius thrives in its use of technology and scientific thought. This certainly isn’t the typical young adult book. It is a smart novel, and its depth of intelligence is what makes it a standout of its genre. The novel is incredibly fast-paced, with twists and turns constantly arising in each chapter, which alternate from the point-of-view of the three main characters. Accompanying the narratives of the characters is a set of visual illustrations and design elements that provide additional depth. In addition to the varied primary characters, there is a wide range of secondary characters that provide the book with a deeply diverse cast. The conclusion feels a bit rushed, but luckily this is the first in a series, so those loose ends can still be resolved in the sequel. Readers interested in technology and science will especially enjoy Genius.