Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Control Freaks

Thomas, J.E.Control Freaks

May 2, 2023 by Levine Querido
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Frederick Douglass Zezzmer, known as Doug to his friends, has a lot of ambition. He wants to be the best inventor of all time, even though his biological father, who is recently back in the picture, wants him to drop the science-y stuff and concentrate on sports for a while, since the father had some success in the field. Doug would rather do well at his classes at Benjamin Banneker STEM academy and impress Principal Yee so that he can be chosen to go to GadgetCon. Told from multiple perspectives, we see other people who are in Doug's circle, like his best friend, Huey, stepbrother, T.W. (who has pressures of his own), as well as various teachers and students. Since the students at Benjamin Banneker are very competitive, the school comes up with a new STEAMS competition, but there's a catch: the students have to work together, and can't work with only students in their own grade. The school hopes to foster collaboration and cooperation, which is hard when you have a lot of driven students who want to control projects and work on their own. Doug and Huey manage to get in a group together, but also work with athletic Liam, The Shark, and Padgett Babineaux, who has some challenges at home. Once the teams are assembled, the tasks start, and a number of teacm are disqualified for picking names that aren't appropriate, and end up doing community service with the very thrilled Mrs. Jalil! The competition is fast and furious
Strengths: The multiple perspective format allows us to see the inner workings of the minds of many of the participants, and see what other factors are affecting their lives. Doug is torn between his biological father, who has recently moved back to town, and his dad, who has raised him since he was young. TW struggles with school work. Huey has to juggle a number of stepfamilies. Other students deal with grandparents whose health is bad, fear of public speaking, or pressures from home. Set against a pell mell competition that causes quite a ruckus in school, this was a fun book that highlights science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. 
Weaknesses: There are a LOT of details about projects and challenges. While science teachers will find this fascinating, I'm not entirely sure that tweens want to read about school work quite as much. 
What I really think: This is a good choice for students who want a STEM themed romp with a science fair feel to it, similar to Lyons's Whiz Kid, Ewing and Almeda's Maya and the Robot, and Gray's Slimed
Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment