The Smartest Kid in the Universe

Book 1

The Smartest Kid in the Universe by Chris Grabenstein
Middle Grade (8-12)
Random House, 2021

ISBN‏: ‎ 9780525647812


The Smartest Kid in the Universe

Book 1


2024 Minnesota Youth Read Awards Maud Hart Lovelace Award Division I (Grades 3-5) nominee ● 2023 Sunshine State Young Reader Award — Florida (Grades 6-8) nominee ● 2022 South Dakota Prairie Pasque Award nominee ● 2021 Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year Selection


“For centuries, humans have consumed information through their eyes and our ears,” said Dr. Backbridge. “Here is my prediction. In the not-too-distant future, we are going to ingest information. You won’t need to read a book or attend lectures. The chemicals in these pills will do your learning for you.”

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 knowledge 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!


“It’s pure jelly-bean-enhanced entertainment and a perfect escape…. A rollicking good time.”
—The New York Times

“Grabenstein is the author of the best-selling Mr. Lemoncello series, and this new volume, packed with wacky hijinks, will appeal to his legions of fans.”
—Booklist, starred review

“Grabenstein delivers once again… with a book that will appeal to even the most reluctant readers.”
—School Library Journal, starred review

“Chris Grabenstein just might be the smartest writer for kids in the universe”
—James Patterson

“Grabenstein returns with another fact-filled, puzzle-packed, multigenre romp. High-paced humor…. Clever, concise, and compelling.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“This amusing adventure also works as a humorous love letter to public education and dedicated teachers.”
—Publishers Weekly


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Is Chris Smarter than a 5th Grader?

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