The newest student at Vanguard Middle School is Fuzzy, a robot developed as part of a government project exploring advanced artificial intelligence. In order to aid with Fuzzy’s integration into the school, which is already under the control of the ultra-strict supercomputer known as Vice Principal Barbara, Maxine “Max” Zelaster is selected to act as his guide and friend. However, Max and Fuzzy face the anti-robot prejudices of those tired of losing their jobs to automation, as well as Barbara’s increasingly tyrannical micromanagement. Complicating matters, the military keeps pushing up Fuzzy’s development timeline, and someone is out to steal his unique code. Angleberger (the Origami Yoda series) and adult SF/fantasy author Dellinger draw a lot of comedy out of Fuzzy’s challenging acclimation to middle school, and seem to have put substantial thought into the complexity of the software that makes him work (Fuzzy shorts out in the cafeteria after trying to listen to 250 kids talking at once). It’s a fast-paced, entertaining romp that also offers a nuanced examination of intelligence, free will, and omnipresent technology. Ages 8–12. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/06/2016 Release date: 08/16/2016 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.