Middle school is no fun in a world where standardized testing determines everything. (This is supposed to be the future, a time when tweens and teens reference slang from fifty years ago like “awesome, bro.”) Vice Principal Barbara is an automated administrator, charged with monitoring everyone and everything: students, teachers, hallway behavior, the all-important test scores. Then Fuzzy arrives.
Fuzzy is a robot designed to learn from others, part of an experiment to see if robots can have independent thoughts, “fuzzy” thoughts which might be outside of their programming. Things get a little crazy. Detentions are flying left and right. Robots are breaking the rules. Vice Principal Barbara is rewriting her code to get rid of the kids (and adults) who lower her averages.
It’s a funny dystopian take on the usual middle school story, and there are laughs in it for adults, too. If you’ve ever felt like standardized testing is the opposite of education, you’ll smile. If you’ve ever had an awful boss or dictatorial teacher or suspected your computer is working against you, you’ll also love the depiction of Vice Principal Barbara. So, really, there’s something for all of us. Awesome, bros.
Fuzzy by Tom Angleberger and Paul Dellinger