Book Review of Halley Harper; Science Girl Extraordinare: Summer Set In Motion

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Halley Harper Science Girl Extraordinaire; Summer Set In Motion book review

Product Reviewed: Halley Harper; Science Girl Extraordinare: Summer Set In Motion, by Tracy Borgmeyer.

Age Range: 7-10 year olds

Star Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars

The Good: Chapter book featuring an awesome 9 year old science-loving girl protagonist, whilst introducing scientific concepts in a fun age-appropriate way.

The Bad: Predictable storyline. Lack of diversity among the characters. Girls who love science are portrayed as weird and unusual (but still cool).

The Verdict: This is a fun, easy to read, early chapter book that encourages a love of science, and in particular, has a science-loving female main character young girls can relate to. Thumbs up!

Halley Harper Science Girl Extraordinaire; Summer Set In Motion - book review

One of the benefits of having a science-for-girls themed blog is that it tends to put you in touch with people who share a similar passion. That’s how I “met” Tracy Borgmeyer, a fellow blogger at She Loves Science, who is on a mission to “inspire you to bring a love of science to your daughters.” Sound familiar?

Tracy recently wrote a guest post for this blog, Go Science Kids, on how to make a cool glow in the dark Big Dipper Constellation Pillow – thanks Tracy!

Tracy also mentioned she’d recently written the first chapter book in a new series, aimed at 8+ year old science-loving girls. Knowing that my eldest daughter is a keen science girl herself, Tracy offered to send a (no obligation) signed copy for my daughter to read. Umm, thank you!

It took me a couple of days before I could have a good look at it though, because my daughter Jewel wouldn’t put it down! I guess that’s a good sign, right?

When I did manage to wrangle it off her, I could see why Jewel was hooked. Science and mystery and intrigue – oh my! So it’s my delight to share our review of this new chapter book, the first in an exciting new series…

Chapter book review - Halley Harper Science Girl Extraordinaire; Summer Set In Motion

Our review of Halley Harper; Science Girl Extraordinaire: Summer Set In Motion

This book starts with 9 year old Halley attempting a particularly messy science experiment at home. In an attempt to keep her experiments out of their kitchen, her parents decide to send her, and her best friend Gracelyn, off to science camp for the summer – which is where the real adventure, and mystery, begins.

The girls must work with their fellow campers on a series of challenges involving Newton’s Laws of Motion. But a series of “accidents” lead Halley to believe that the camp is being sabotaged. Can Halley use her science knowledge to uncover the mystery and save Camp Eureka from closing forever?

Halley Harper Science Girl Extraordinaire; Summer Set In Motion book review by Go Science Kids

This book is packed full of scientific concepts, each explained in an easy to understand way, including many ideas for demonstrating these concepts, which could be easily replicated at home (or school, or indeed, camp).

Book review of Halley Harper Science Girl Extraordinaire; Summer Set In Motion

The book also has a number of science-loving female role-models. The main character, Halley, is unabashedly science-obsessed. Her best friend, Gracelyn, isn’t as interested in science per se, but is happy to go along to science camp to support her friend. One of the teenage counselors, whose name is Cameron, is a girl, and is a figure that the two younger girls look up to. One of the leaders of the camp, Ms. Mac, is eccentrically lovable and really supportive of Halley’s passion. The main male character, Nathan, whom the girls befriend at camp, is also quite the feminist, pointing out sexist remarks as inappropriate. Halley’s father is also very supportive of her love of science, including building her a tree-lab at home, where she’s free to make as much science mess as she wants. (Side note: I want a tree lab too – how cool would that be!!)

This book won’t win any literary awards necessarily. The storyline is very predictable, following a mystery book formula that many kids enjoy.

I also noticed a lack of diversity among the characters.

It does bugs me a little that Halley is portrayed as a “square peg”, and it bugs me that Halley’s mother values a clean house over science enthusiasm – but I do understand how this may help make the Halley character more relatable… My wish is that one day, we might live in a world where a girl who loves science isn’t portrayed as weird, but rather just a girl who has an interest in something cool, similar to how some girls are interested in horses or gymnastics. But I guess, in reality, we’re not quite there yet. So whilst this book may reinforce the idea that most girls don’t love science, it certainly provides a relatable role-model for any girls who do love science, and may be feeling a little side-lined because of it.

 

What my 7 year old daughter Jewel thinks:

I love it. I love Halley Harper, and I think it’s a great book for big kids who love science, but whose parents don’t really understand science.

 

Where to buy Halley Harper; Science Girl Extraordinaire: Summer Set In Motion (Note: affiliate links*)

You can buy copies online from Amazon.com (for the US), Amazon.co.uk (for the brits) and Book Depository (for Aussies and other countries).

 

You might also be able to buy a copy at your local bookstore (or perhaps you could ask them to order one in for you).

Other Key Features {that might be handy to know}

  • Written by Tracy Borgmeyer, illustrated by Melanie Cordan. Published in 2017 by Tandem Services Press.
  • It is book 1 in the Halley Harper; Science Girl Extraordinaire series.
  • The paperback is approximatley 20.5 x 12.5 x 1cm. The paperback is 126 pages long (or 139 pages if you include glossary, list of experiments, teaser for the second book in the series, etc)
  • It’s also available for instant download on Kindle.

 

You can find more of our science book reviews & gift recommendations here, including book reviews of:

 

Have you read any other books that feature science-loving girl protagonists? I’d love to hear about them!

 

Disclaimer: My daughter received a signed copy of this book as a gift from the author. This post is not sponsored, and we were under no obligation to write this review. All opinions are my (or my kids’) own. I have included some affiliate links in this post. An affiliate link means I may earn referral / advertising fees if you make a purchase through my link, without any extra cost to you. Referral / advertising fees are one of the ways I can keep this blog afloat. Thank you for your support.

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