“All I know is this,” Kate told her brusquely. “I’m not going to Lincoln with you on Monday morning, I’m going to Whittaker. And I’m not going home with my mother and fatehr tonight, I’m going home with just my mother. So I guess I don’t believe in wishes coming true, either. If I really want good things to happen, and bad things to stop happening, it’ll take more than wishing. I have to act. And I have to act now.”
Kate and her uncle, George, are regular kids. Kate is in eighth grade, Uncle George is in sixth. Kate is ready to go to Lincoln middle school and play Peter Pan in the play, and George is ready to learn things and invent things as well.
And then Uncle George passes the entrance exam to the Whittaker Magnet School.
Before they know it, both Kate and George are absorbed into the Whittaker Magnet School district ‘octopus’ and are attending the school with the highest scores on standardized tests. Although George is excited to be in a place where his genius is appreciated, Kate is not too happy to be in with the ‘mushroom children’ and personal assistant to Heidi Whittaker, the girl who dresses like a ‘Swiss Milkmaid’.
But when eerie things begin in the school, neither of them know what to expect. With the help of a woman who only speaks in nursery rhymes, Kate’s mother June, the staff of the White House, and a whole cast of other characters (Whether willingly or not), the two children will uncover a mystery that stretches back to the founding of the school, and nothing will be the same again.
Kate stared at the supine figure of Walter Barnes. She felt a pang of sympathy for the old librarian. but that pang was quickly replaed by another feeling, a feeling that something big had just happened. She didn’t know what it was, exactly, but she did know this: It was something that the Whittaker-Austins, with all their money and all their power, could not control. It was a first chink in their armor. Perhaps it was a door to a door to a door that would lead her out of there.
I rather enjoyed this book.
As a homeschooler, it fills me with a sort of righteousness when I read about the failings of the public school system, and this book is a criticism of said system of schools. With a school that only focuses on standardized tests (much like many schools nowadays actually do), it emphasizes the positive aspects of imagination, art, fantasy, and whimsy.
This book is also written somewhat like A Series of Unfortunate Events or Pepperment in the Parlor, so if you liked any of those books, I believe you’d like this one. Sort of in that J fiction and yet… aimed for older people type of writing. It’s interesting.
I have to say, however, that I did not particularly like Kate until near the end of the book where she goes through a character change. Uncle George was cool, however, and I liked some of the other characters as well.
Also, although I think the ending was okay, it wasn’t spectacular or anything to be overly impressed with. I’d recommend this book, but I’d also say not to expect anything mind blowing from it.