The Superteacher Project by Gordon Korman
Publication Date: January 10, 2023
Summary from NetGalley:
From Gordon Korman, the bestselling author of Restart and The Unteachables, comes a hilarious new story about a mysterious new teacher who turns out to be an AI robot from a secret experimental program.
Oliver Zahn, spitball champion and self-declared rule-wrecker of Brightling Middle School, is not a fan of his new homeroom teacher, Mr. Aidact. The guy is sort of stiff, never cracks a smile, and refers to them as “pupils.” The worst part is he catches Oliver before he can pull any of his signature pranks! It’s time for Oliver and his best friend, Nathan, to show the new teacher who’s boss.
But as the weeks go by, they start to realize that Mr. Aidact is not what they expected. He has an uncanny ability to remember song lyrics or trivia. When the girls’ field hockey team needs a new coach, he suddenly turns out to be an expert. He never complains when other teachers unload work on him—even when it’s lunchroom duty and overseeing detention. Against all odds, Mr. Aidact starts to become the most popular teacher at Brightling.
Still, Oliver and Nathan know that something is fishy. They’re determined to get to the bottom of the mystery: What’s the deal with Mr. Aidact?
ARC provided by HarperCollins via NetGalley for an honest review.
It is always a joy to read a book about middle schoolers just being kids. This is a wonderful book about friendships and working together to get something important done, as well as a little pranking that sometimes goes awry.
The book is told from multiple points of view, mostly the students, but there are a few by some of the adults involved. I really enjoy multiple viewpoints in a middle grade book as it allows for a every reader to find at least one character they can relate to. All of these character were well fleshed out and their voices sounded authentic, and they all dealt with real issues that most middle schoolers face.
Even though we never get a point of view from Mr. Aidact, I loved seeing him through the student’s eyes. They can all sort of tell that there is something different about this new teacher, but they never guess what is really going on until Oliver and Nathan figure it out. Mr. Aidact is a great teacher and even though he struggles to connect to the kids in the beginning he eventually gets there. He is so popular that he gets voted favorite teacher, to the dismay of the other teachers. The student’s initial reactions to finding out the truth is honest, and I think a reflection of their parent’s reaction. But I love how they come to rally around him in the end. The power of kids is sometimes an amazing thing to see in books.
The setting of the book is a great, almost everything takes place in the school. The time period is kind of open. It sounds present day, until you think about how Mr. Aidact passes easily as human from the start. AI is just not that advanced. So obviously this is set in the future, but not so far that kids are unable to relate.
The one tiny thing that kind of bugged me is Oliver and Nathan pull a prank that causes some damage to school property. They are never caught or made to face the consequences of what they did, which maybe sends the wrong message. Otherwise, I loved that Mr Aidact calls them out on all of their other pranks and their are consequences to be had.
Overall a great book that fans of Gordon Korman will love. And a great one to introduce students to his great books.