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Review of Fuzzy

by Tom Angleberger and Paul Dellinger
Intermediate, Middle School    Amulet/Abrams    256 pp.
8/16    978-1-4197-2122-9    $14.95

Life quickly gets complicated for seventh-grader Max Zelaster the day she meets Fuzzy, the first robot student at Vanguard Middle School. Designed to use fuzzy logic (hence his name), Fuzzy can think for himself and update his own programming. On paper, he sounds like a model student for Vanguard, a Constant UpGrade school run by a virtual vice principal — a supercomputer responsible for tracking everything from weekly multiple-choice exam results to proper bathroom hand-washing etiquette. But Fuzzy thinks outside the box. Case in point: What’s two plus two? Fuzzy’s answer: Tutu. As it turns out, Max, who’s been tasked with teaching the robot how to navigate the school hallways, is quite a free thinker, too. Before long, the pair is in hot water with the ever-watchful, control-freak vice principal, and Max’s days at Vanguard may be numbered. Set some fifty years in the future, Angleberger and Dellinger’s novel raises thought-provoking questions about intelligence (artificial and otherwise), cutting-edge technology, and high-stakes standardized testing. Briskly paced and laced with plenty of humor, the sci-fi story is also, at its core, a tale about friendship — about a human and a robot muddling through the messy ins-and-outs of adolescence together.

From the September/October 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Tanya D. Auger

Tanya D. Auger is a former middle school teacher with a master’s degree in learning and teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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