Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 19, 2017

Book Giveaway – The Clueless Girl’s Guide To Being A Genius – Janice Repka

After reading Author Janice Repka’s Middle Grade Novel, THE CLUELESS GIRL’S GUIDE TO BEING A GENIUS and tears running down my checks from the laughter, I contacted Janice to see if she would like to be featured and share her book with you. She agreed to give away a copy of her funny well-written book.

If you would like to win a copy, please leave a comment, reblog, tweet, or talk about THE CLUELESS GIRL’S GUIDE TO BEING A GENIUS on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.


Aphrodite Wigglesmith is a thirteen-year-old prodigy. After a fast track through Harvard, she’s back at her old middle school to teach remedial math and prove a bold theory: anyone can be a genius with the right instruction. Enter Mindy, a ditzy baton twirler who knows more about hair roots than square roots. What could she possibly learn from such a frumpy nerd, except maybe what not to wear? But somewhere between studying and shopping, the two girls start to become friends. They’re an unlikely pair, but in this uproarious middle-grade comedy, wacky is the norm and anything is possible – just like middle school


Many years ago, I belonged to a writer’s group that focused on short stories. At one point, my fellow writers began to explore the idea of putting their stories together in collections for publication. The problem that arose was that while each story was strong individually, there was no common theme to hold them all together. Throughout my writing career, my problem has run the opposite. No matter what I write, I seem to continue to explore the same themes: fitting in, individuality, and self worth.

It’s no wonder then that when I sat down to write The Clueless Girl’s Guide to Being a Genius these same themes quickly emerged. The book is about an unlikely friendship between two girls who seem like opposites, but actually have much in common beneath their surfaces. Aphrodite is extremely intelligent when it comes to fractions and subtraction, but she feels out of place among people her own age. Mindy is one of the most popular girls in middle school and a skilled baton twirler, but she feels like none of her friends get her. It’s this feeling of each being the odd one out that draws them together. Throughout the book, they both learn to overcome their insecurities and to accept themselves and each other for the unique people they are.

Despite the seriousness of those themes, I also wanted to use plenty of middle school humor to keep the pages turning. Making my protagonist a 13-year-old teacher assigned to teach a class of other 13-year-olds helped set up a comedic situation that I knew could lead to lots of awkward and funny moments. To keep it fun, I made sure no more than three pages went by before something humorous was said or done. When my funny bone started feeling a bit strained, I added a character who was known for telling silly jokes at inopportune times so he could carry some of the weight for me. Few things are as rewarding for me as hearing a reader tell me how hard she laughed when she read something in the book.

I wrote The Clueless Girl’s Guide to Being a Genius to be a book for reluctant readers. I wanted it to be a book kids read because they enjoy it and not because a teacher has assigned it as required reading. This meant I had to keep the pacing quick, the language accessible, and the tension high. Writing a book for children who don’t like to read is a bit of a daunting task, but I feel very strongly that it’s one of the highest callings for a children’s book writer. It only takes one book that a child really enjoys to make that child pick up another book and keep reading.

For me, the funniest thing about The Clueless Girl’s Guide to Being a Genius is how it seemed to predict the path my own life would take. After I had sent the final draft of it to my agent, I decided to enroll full time in a program to obtain my Master’s of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. By the time I graduated, the book had been published by Dutton’s Children Books and was on its way to becoming a Scholastic Book Club pick. I was on my way to my first gig as a full-time Assistant Professor of English at a state university. Just like Aphrodite, my specialty now is teaching remedial students how to believe in themselves and realize their full potential. I guess it really is true what they say about life imitating art.


Janice Repka is the author of The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco (2004) and The Clueless Girl’s Guide to being a Genius (2011), both humorous middle grade novels published by Dutton Children’s Books. The Stupendous Dodgeball Fiasco was a Junior Library Guild selection and a 2008 Nebraska Golden Sower Award Honor Book. It was also nominated for the Sunshine State Young Reader Award, the Young Hoosier Book Award, the Great Stone Face Award, and the Keystone to Reading Book Award. The Clueless Girl’s Guide to being a Genius was a Scholastic Book Club pick. Repka’s short stories and poetry also have been published by Writer’s Journal, The Antietam Review Literary Journal, Potomac Review, and The Louisiana Review, and in the anthology The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Communication from Point Park University and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Janice Repka has a Master of Arts degree in English and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from McNeese State University. She is currently an Associate Professor of English at John Tyler Community College in Richmond, Virginia.

Thank you Janice for sharing your book and journey with us. I am sure the winner will love your book.

Talk tomorrow,




  1. Ok, you got me interested. I like a good laugh and don’t all kids? Funny girls are always good.


  2. looks wonderfully wonderful wish I can win it!


  3. Reblogged this on wwwritaborg and commented:
    sounds like a great book.


  4. What a wonderful concept for an MG book! Now I want to know how it plays out!


  5. This sounds funny – I’ll have to check it out!


  6. This looks great. Thanks so much for sharing!


  7. Looks like a book for my 12 yo (of course, I get to read it first!)


  8. Kids (and grownups) love funny stories. This looks like a gem. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy. I’ve also tweeted about this post and giveaway.


  9. great cover. I retweeted rather than making my own so the image could be seen as well.


  10. This book looks like a lot of fun! I shared it on twitter and I’ll post it to my blog.


  11. I want to read this. It sounds terrific.


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