Reviews for Lenny Cyrus, School Virus

Booklist Reviews 2013 September #1
Science genius Lenny cannot seem to attract Zooey, whose thoughts are fully focused on the eighth-grade play she has written and is directing. Their mutual friend, Harlan, watches worriedly as Lenny makes himself temporarily microscopic and enters Zooey's body, intending to direct her thoughts. Via cell phone, Lenny relates his encounters with an array of biological monsters in Zooey's body. Told in alternating chapters by Lenny, Harlan, and Zooey, the story also involves nefarious classmates who not only threaten Zooey's play but her life as well. As Lenny's allotted 60 minutes winds down, a seriously ill Zooey collapses just as the play opens. The pseudobiological adventures go on a bit too long, but the school scenes and microscopic perils are well orchestrated for maximum suspense. With perfect timing, the story slides between typical middle-school scenes and Lenny's fantastic microscopic journey, balancing clever, wise-guy repartee with gut-wrenching tension. A page-turner for readers who enjoy action-packed fantasy lightened by laughs. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Thirteen-year-old Lenny uses his scientific genius to shrink himself down to microscopic size in a bid to get a girl to like him by literally "chang[ing] her mind about me." Naturally, this backfires spectacularly. With likable characters and a good dose of humor, Schreiber pulls off this over-the-top premise, making the farce seem almost believable.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 March #2
A middle school science genius chooses an unusual way to get the girl. Lenny Cyrus isn't your average 13-year-old. Growing up with two science geniuses for parents, Lenny is more comfortable with lab rats than his peers. So when it comes to winning the affections of Zooey Andrews, Lenny doesn't settle for any of the usual tactics. Instead, he devises a plan to shrink himself down to the size of a virus and, with the help of his best friend Harlan, go inside Zooey and literally change her mind. Told from the alternating perspectives of Lenny, Harlan and Zooey, the story offers plenty of humor and action, but what really sets it apart are the complex emotional layers that add depth and a heightened sense of urgency to Lenny's quest. Though Lenny's purported mission is to slip into Zooey's system unnoticed, what he truly wants more than anything is to be seen by Zooey and, perhaps even more importantly, to be seen by his own parents. Lenny, Harlan and Zooey each have their own distinct and engaging narrative voices. It's especially refreshing to see that the object of Lenny's affections is a strong, smart young woman. While Schreiber does a good job keeping things light, some of the science-speak can feel a bit overwhelming. Here's hoping readers won't be daunted by it, since there is so much here to enjoy. (Science fiction. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 February #2

Schreiber shifts from YA to middle grade with the story of awkward eighth-grade supergenius Lenny Cyrus, who devises a way to shrink himself to microscopic size and enter the bloodstream of his crush, in hopes of "changing Zooey's mind" about him. "It's one hundred percent scientifically viable," Lenny tells his best friend, Harlan (the ethics of the plan don't cross Lenny's mind). Schreiber alternates among Lenny, Harlan, and Zooey's perspectives in short, taut, action-packed chapters with cliffhanger endings, techniques he used in Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick and Perry's Killer Playlist. Zooey's health and control of her own body fluctuate wildly as Lenny befriends a helpful astrovirus, avoids Zooey's internal defenses, and tries to reach her brain. Some late revelations and actions help Lenny become slightly more sympathetic, but readers are more likely to side with Harlan, the good-guy counterweight to Lenny's amoral and ill-advised pursuit of Zooey. Meanwhile, Zooey, the least stereotypical and most independent-minded character, is all but reduced to a puppet as Lenny nearly kills her in his efforts to win (and see inside) her heart. Ages 10-14. Agent: Phyllis Westberg, Harold Ober Associates. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 March

Gr 6-8--Lenny Cyrus, 13, may be a genius, but he doesn't know the first thing about getting his crush, Zooey Andrews, to like him. After discovering how to miniaturize the atoms in a living organism, he is able to shrink lab rats to microscopic size and feels certain he could shrink himself as well. His plan is to travel through Zooey's body and change her mind about him from inside her brain. His friend Harlan tries to be the voice of reason and talk Lenny out of his dangerous, and morally questionable, plan, but Lenny won't be gainsaid, and Harlan reluctantly agrees to help to keep both Lenny and Zooey safe. His job is further complicated when Lenny's Nobel Prize-winning parents turn up at school looking for their son, who is otherwise occupied trying to figure out a way past Zooey's blood-brain barrier. Meanwhile, Zooey is behaving erratically. The fast-paced story unfolds through the alternating viewpoints of the three eighth graders. As the narrative moves quickly into Lenny's "fantastic voyage," a subplot involving the inattention of his parents lacks development, given the role it plays in Lenny's decisions. Illustrations scattered throughout highlight the various anthropomorphized cells, molecules, and viruses Lenny encounters on his adventure. Though readers will likely guess the true culprits behind Zooey's life-threatening illness, the humor and quick pace may be enough to keep them reading.--Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL

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