It’s the first day at Vanguard One Middle School for a new student: Fuzzy, a state-of-the-art robot! When Fuzzy arrives at the school as part of the Robot Integration Program, 7thgrader Max is thrilled. She loves robots. The two become fast friends, and Max teaches her new classmate everything he needs to know about how to survive 7thgrade.
When the two friends discover the super-secret purpose behind the Robot Integration Program, they realize they’ll have to combine Fuzzy’s super smarts with Max’s super savvy to outwit the adults. As well as an even trickier foe: a digital student evaluation system named BARBARA that might be taking its mission to shape the perfect student to extremes.
Here’s another story about a near-future that feels very possible. Computers and machines are becoming more advanced and doing more tasks each year. I pray that technology won’t take over the school systems for future kids’ sake. Whatever happened to teachers who can actually teach?
It wasn’t until the first page that I wondered why a robot would have to go to middle school in the first place (ironically, the same question is asked on the second page). There is a reason why Fuzzy is attending school. I just can’t tell you.
The government apparently wanted a robot that could think for itself because that’s not a dangerous idea. Luckily this book’s more ‘Short Circuit’ than ‘Terminator.’ One thing the robot has to learn is how to walk through a crowded hallway. As someone whose high school was overcrowded, that is no easy feat. Personally, if I saw a robot walking down the halls, I would get out of the way.
The most horrifying thing about this future scenario is that most people don’t even know what a book is. Everything is being read on electronic tablets. I might spend a lot of time writing and reading on a screen, but I can’t imagine not reading from a physical book. For one thing, books don’t crash like machines do.
What really made me mad was how unreasonable Max’s mom was. She kept going on and on about how robots and computers aren’t reliable and how people are too dependent on technology. At the same time, she trusts a computerized grading system over her own daughter.
It’s never said what specific year this story takes place in. I’m guessing sometime around 2040 to 2050.