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Solving Zoe

Solving Zoe

For Ages: 8 - 12
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Zoe Bennett feels lost at her fancy private school.

She's not the star drama queen like her sister, or a brainiac math genius like her brother. Luckily her best friend, Dara, is just as content as Zoe is to stay in the shadows -- or is she? When Dara gets a part in the school musical, Zoe feels abandoned. What's worse, Zoe's practically being stalked by the weird new kid, Lucas. Then Lucas accidentally drops his notebook and Zoe finds it's written in symbols and numbers -- it's complete gibberish. Yet she sees her name in there, plain as day. Now Lucas is telling her she's a natural code-reading genius -- or some kind of mental freak.

As Zoe's daydreaming lands her in trouble at school, anonymous notes start to appear in students' lockers, and Zoe is the number one suspect. Solving word puzzles may come easily to her, but now there's more at stake -- will Zoe be able to solve her way out of this?

With plenty of wit and insight, Barbara Dee has created this fresh, funny story of a girl who discovers that fitting in sometimes means standing out.
Choose a format:
  • Aladdin | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416991595 | 
  • April 2010 | 
  • Grades 3 - 7 | 
  • Lexile 640
List Price $7.99


Author Barbara Dee: Revealed

Barbara tells us her advice for aspiring novelists....

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About the Author

Barbara Dee
Photograph by Randy Matusow

Barbara Dee

Barbara Dee is the author of the tween novels Just Another Day in my Insanely Real Life, Solving Zoe (2010 Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year), This Is Me From Now On, and Trauma Queen. She lives with her family in Westchester County, New York. You can visit her on the web at


Author Revealed

Q. how did you come to write Solving Zoe?


I was thinking about the heroine of my first book, Just Another Day in My Insanely Real Life, who, despite her messy family life, was actually pretty lucky: she knew that she was a talented writer, and that knowledge helped her get through some rocky times. And then I started thinking: what would it feel like to have an amazing talent but not know it? Or maybe know it but not understand it? It would be especially hard if you were going to a school where all the kids were "gifted and talented" in obvious, typical ways. I began imagining a girl who was used to hanging back in the shadows, holding onto a long-time best-friendship that wasn't really working anymore--until one day a strange new boy exposes her secret ability. The more I thought about this story the more it seemed to be about the exciting, scary process of figuring out who you are and where you fit--which I think anyone in any middle school can relate to.

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