Thursday, October 14, 2021

Eighth Grade vs. the Machine

Before the day began!
Slice of Life: 
Yesterday I had all 250 7th graders in the library for classes and books, and over 300 books got checked out! My displays looked like plagues of locusts had swarmed over them, so of course twenty minutes before the end of the day my principal phoned to say there would be a district meeting in my space! still need to refill front facing books before I have all of the 8th graders visit today.

I always think that since I get to work a bit early, I'll get reviews written. Instead, I've spent an hour shifting Chrome books around, getting together work for a volunteer, cleaning things. And wait! What about finishing up the stuff for my state evaluation, making signs about the Neighborhood Bridges toiletries and supplies available in the library. and printing a list of students with very overdue books who might not have anything to read so I can hunt them down and chat?

Being busy is good. I'm hoping to get some weeding done from 4-8 p.m. when conferences are going on and we have to be in the building.

Levy, Joshua. Eighth Grade vs. the Machine
October 5th 2021 by Carolrhoda Books 
E ARC provided by Netgalley

After their adventures in Seventh Grade vs. the Galaxy, classmates Ari, Becka and Jack are back with Principal Lochner to try to find their families after humanity has gone missing. They are trying to fix their ship, PSS 118, and the teachers are making a half hearted attempt to get them to do school work, including keeping journals that we get to see in the text. When they finally get going, they face a host of problems, including an invasion of priate speaking robots and meeting up with Hunter, who has gone to the dark side of the Minister, along with Bale Kontra, an old Elvidian. The group wants to make it to the library on Wyzardia, where they eventually find that another ship has survived the Quarantine. This leads them to locate the Poplar, where they meet another kid, Starlee. When they all end up in the hands of the Minister, will they be able to negotiate for what they want? Another adventure is all but guaranteed when a main character goes missing, and Principal Lochner takes the school on their next mission without that person.
Strengths: I bought two copies of the first book, since it is a great space adventure complete with low gravity dodgeball, and the book has been very popular with my students. The sequel will be appreciately recieved. I like the way the kids work together and have lots of adventures, even though personally my favorite part is how the teachers try to hold everything together! The trials with the robots, the Minister, and trying to get to Wyzardia help the group towards finding out what has happened, and the real draw is all of the adventures, as well as the pirate speaking robots.
Weaknesses: There was a LOT going on, and since Jack didn't appear until about 50 pages into the story, I got a bit confused. This is not so much a fault of the book as it is my own Fantasy Amnesia. If I didn't have to write a review, this wouldn't be a problem!
What I really think: One of my favorite middle grade literature lines has got to be "And still, Principal Lochner defines the line between civilization and chaos as 'collared shirts.' " Well, yes! No reason to let standards slip! Jack, Ari, and Beckah's further adventures will be a big hit, and I will be curious to see how the third book unfolds. I have a line of students waiting for this latest installment!


  1. Do cardigan sweaters qualify as a mark of civilization? This looks really good and I'll have to find both books.

  2. See, I would have left the space in a mess so people could tell you were BUSY!

  3. the kids and school are lucky to have you!

  4. Sounds like a great sequel to a book your students love. (And I can totally relate to Fantasy Amnesia - love that term!)

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction