Maddie’s having a rough year. Her grandfather, who was a scientist just like she wants to be, has just died, and the family is forced to sell his house. If that weren’t bad enough, middle school is starting and her best friend is going to a private school instead of the public school Maddie will attend. To cope, Maddie turns to her first love: microbiology. She swabs for samples, keeps a lab notebook (which includes observations about everything and everyone) and begs for lab time. In the meantime, she must navigate her new school, the smart but oddball group of possible friends, and her family’s medical problems. Clearly, Maddie has never read Harriet the Spy, because it’s about this time that the famous diary plot device rises up and smacks her in the face. It’ll take some maturity, help from family, and an assist from a fungi to make things right. Recommended for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders especially.