Olivia Bean Trivia Queen

Common Sense Media says

Fun story of tween girl getting her shot on Jeopardy!





What parents need to know

Educational value
Olivia Bean: Trivia Queen includes some great trivia along with its entertaining story. Kids will learn both interesting and gross facts, such as how long a cockroach can live without its head (hint: it's a freakishly long time).
Positive messages
Two of the big takeaways are: It's cool to be smart; and you can do anything if you believe in yourself. Olivia learns to embrace her abilities and overcome perceived faults to go after a dream. She also learns the importance of having a supportive circle around her.  
Positive role models
Olivia, her parents, and her neighbor are all great examples of real people who cope well with life's twists and turns. Olivia is a typical kid reacting to the turmoil of her parents' separation. She struggles with her self-confidence, but there are golden nuggets of true leadership that emerge as her character matures over the course of the book.
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Mild name-calling and some gross-out humor in the guise of trivia.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Olivia Bean: Trivia Queen is a good book about family relationships. It shows the care needed to make them work and the devastation caused when they don't. There is very little to object in this book, but there are adults who are shown intoxicated, an unmarried couple lives together, and a man causes a divorce by cheating on his wife with a neighbor whom he later marries. Parents should be prepared to talk about infidelity, as it becomes a key plot point in the book.

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What's the story?

Olivia Bean never misses an episode of Jeopardy!. She used to watch it all the time with her dad, but since the divorce and his move across the country, Olivia prefers to watch it alone. Her dream is to land a spot during Kids' Week and impress her dad by winning. She gets her shot, but worries she won't have what it takes. Her family, icky neighbor, and even her mom's hairy boyfriend band together to help Olivia look inside herself to find the confidence she will need to take on Jeopardy!, her dad, and geography!

Is it any good?


Author Donna Gephart has created a rich, fun, believable story with a heroine readers can identify with easily. Everyone has had embarrassing moments in school they think they'll never live down, and everyone worries that when their big shot comes they may fall flat. Olivia tackles it all -- including family issues -- with courage, typical tween grumbling, and a few tears.

This is the kind of heartwarming story kids will love because it has great characters, a believable dialogue and fun and sometimes gross trivia facts. Parents should be prepared to talk about different kinds of families and maybe infidelity, as it becomes a key plot point in the book.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about divorce and what makes up a family. Do you have friends with nontraditional families?

  • Families can also talk about hobbies. Olivia loves trivia and longs to compete on Jeopardy! Do you have a hobby? What's the coolest thing you could do with your hobby?

  • Do you think getting on a TV show is good goal to have in life?

Book details

Author:Donna Gephart
Genre:Family Life
Topics:Great girl role models
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Delacorte Press
Publication date:March 13, 2012
Number of pages:288
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 17
Read aloud:8 - 17
Read alone:8 - 17

This review of Olivia Bean Trivia Queen was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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