|School for whatnots|
Author: Haddix, Margaret Peterson
Ever since they met in kindergarten, Max and Josie have been inseparable. Until the summer after fifth grade, when Josie disappears, leaving only a note saying she's real and whispering something about "whatnot rules." As Max sets to uncover what happened to Josie, there are forces trying to keep Max and Josie from ever seeing each other again. Because Josie wasn't supposed to be real.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 515245
Kirkus Reviews (+) (01/01/22)
School Library Journal (02/01/22)
Booklist (+) (04/15/22)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/03/22)
The Hornbook (00/05/22)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2022 Gr 5 Up—An innovative story of friendship with touches of science fiction, fantasy, and mystery, along with a heavy, dark dose of capitalism. How do the wealthy keep their children protected and stop them from acting spoiled? They send them to a school full of whatnots, android robots pretending to be human. While attending one of these schools, Max becomes best friends with Josie. Years later, he finds out Josie has a secret—she is the only whatnot at the school who is human. Her father made a huge sacrifice in the hopes of providing her with a better life. When Josie is transferred out of the program, the two companions are abruptly separated. Both children are determined to find each other, and in the process uncover dark secrets about the whatnot system and its powerful creators. The thought-provoking plot exposes the glaring disparities between the haves and the have-nots. Unfortunately, the almost-too-neat conclusion does not offer any true solutions. Systemic poverty continues to exist side by side with families wealthy enough to render change, but who choose short-term options over anything lasting. VERDICT A solid purchase with appeal for older readers; recommended for any library, but especially those where sci-fi and mysteries circulate well.—Claire Covington - Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/15/2022 *Starred Review* Max and Josie are best friends from vastly different worlds. Max, born to billionaires, obliviously attends an exclusive school with a fleet of students known as Whatnots, modern androids capable of flawless human imitation, thus sparing him from interacting with cruel or greedy children interested only in his wealth. Josie is secretly the only other human child in Max’s class, allowed to attend the superior school with the promise of an excellent education if she can keep up the robotic ruse. Max is devastated when Josie seemingly disappears after fifth grade, but she leaves behind a perplexing note: “No matter what anyone tells you, I’m real.” A bewildered Max sets out to uncover the truth and find his way back to his best friend, but the stakes are higher than he could possibly imagine. The incredibly intriguing premise is happily matched by compelling text, treating readers to some truly terrific twists and a touch of fairy tale. Fast-paced chapters are punctuated by humorous “narrator’s asides,” though it quickly becomes clear that the narrator isn’t quite as omniscient as it originally appears. This engaging introduction to socioeconomic disparity in education, health care, and transportation delves even deeper into the complexity of friendship and the impossibility of perfection. A thought-provoking and thrilling exploration of what it means to be human. - Copyright 2022 Booklist.