The Crimson Five #1: Spin the Golden Light Bulb – Jackie Yeager

Be Curious. Be Creative. Be Collaborative. Be Colourful. Be Courageous.

Spin the Golden Light Bulb is Jackie Yeager’s debut novel. I’ve been having lots of luck finding brilliant debut novels recently and this middle grade novel is no exception. Jackie Yeager takes us on a journey to 2071, where people travel by aero-car and kids are referred to at school by their number, not name.

Kia Krumpet’s number is 718, she has an ex-best friend and no one at her school, Crimson Elementary School, has ever won a Golden Light Bulb in the Piedmont Challenge. If Kia doesn’t secure one of the coveted Piedmont Challenge positions, she won’t be able to enrol in her dream school, Piedmont Inventors Prep School (PIPS).

Instead, she’ll face programming like everyone else, and she can’t imagine anything worse. Programming determines which one of six academic categories sixth graders will study for the next six years – Art Forms, Communication, Earth and Space, Human History, New Technology, and Math.

Kia has dreamed of attending PIPS since discovering her Grandma Kitty won the first Piedmont Challenge. Kia has a list of 67 inventions she wants to create but unless she is successful in gaining entry to PIPS she’ll never have the chance.

I loved so many things about this book:

  • The fact that the main character is a young girl who strives to be given the opportunity to attend the school of her dreams
  • Being smart is a good thing!
  • Being good at more than one academic area is a great thing!
  • While academics is really important, so is character and creativity!
  • It’s okay to be passionate about anything – inventing, mechanics, art, whatever you love
  • The creativity of all of the inventions described is wonderful and makes your brain smile
  • The kids, especially funny, loyal and forgiving Anders
  • Learning to be a good friend, family relationships, loyalty, teamwork, forgiveness, working hard and having fun are all explored
  • Nacho Cheese Ball. I guarantee you’ll want to try this sport when you read about it
  • The writing style. I found myself slipping into this world very easily and found the characters interesting and relatable, and the plot engaging
  • The illustrations. Gabrielle Esposito has really captured the essence of the book in her illustrations. They’re fun, imaginative and correspond well with what’s happening in the chapters.

My only real grumble with this book is that the separation of tasks whilst making the set piece and costumes was so clichéd. The girls made the costumes and the boys made the set piece. I had some hope when Mare knew about the best types of wood to use because of her experience with her father’s constructions work, but when it came time to build and work on the mechanics of their project it was a job for the boys.

I came away from reading this book wanting to strive to achieve my goals (and to believe in myself while I’m working towards them), to be a better friend, to have more fun and to add Jackie Yeager to my ‘read this author’s next book regardless of the blurb’ list. The way this book ends leaves plenty of room for a sequel, which I’d be very interested in getting my hands on.

Favourite sentence:

“Being courageous is the opposite of what it means to conform.”

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Amberjack Publishing for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

It’s the year 2071 and eleven year old Kia Krumpet is determined to build her 67 inventions, but she won’t have the opportunity to unless she earns a spot at PIPS, the Piedmont Inventor’s Prep School. Kia, who has trouble making friends at school, has dreamed of winning the Piedmont Challenge and attending PIPS ever since she learned that her Grandma Kitty won the very first Piedmont Challenge. After she and four of her classmates are selected to compete for a spot at PIPS, they travel by aero-bus to Camp Piedmont to solve a task against forty nine other state teams to earn their place at the best inventor’s school in the country. 

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