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The Unteachables is the perfect book for this quarantine, especially because it reminds us of those glorious days at school. You just can’t help stepping into the shoes of the characters and experiencing their funny, yet utterly captivating situations. The story is about 8 quirky kids, outcasts in Greenwich Middle School, Mr Kermit, an even more outcast teacher, who once was a hopeful, bright-minded teacher, but gets shot down back to earth after a cheating scandal in the 1990s on a National Aptitude Test is blamed on him, and their adventures in trying to understand each other. At first, in Self-Contained-Section 8, the ‘classes’ if one could call it that, start off with neither side doing anything school-like, but all of that changes when Emma Fountain, Mr. Kermit’s ex-fiance’s idealistic daughter walks into the merry crew. Through an extraordinary series of events, including a complicated relationship with Jake Terranova, the student who brought him down, Mr. Kermit begins to revive his once-buried love of teaching and the most difficult students in the school start to respond to him and produce results.

By this time you may be wondering, where’s the antagonist? Indeed, no story is complete without our bloodthirsty villain, and in this story, it is Superintendent Thaddeus, who is out to get Mr. Kermit for what happened in the past. He seems to stop at nothing to get him fired from the school, and even manages to do so for a while, but not without a twist.

I absolutely love this book, not only because of its characters, but also because it teaches and relates to us a lot. It shows us that there are two sides to every story, and everyone has their good points, if you show them hope. My personal favourite character in the story is Kiana, because even though she is bright and clever, she entered the wrong classroom [the unteachables] and ended up staying there.

I feel like I relate to Kiana in a lot of ways, as she was never taken seriously at first, and was treated as a know-it-all by the rest of the class, which I get all the time.

I also like reading about Mateo, who practically lives in a world of make-believe, which I personally would like to do, but never seem to accomplish.

Filled with twists and turns and thought-provoking ideas, The Unteachables is a must-read for any middle-schooler. Gordon Korman may attract people with his brightly-coloured covers, but what exists inside his books are even brighter!

The Unteachables by Gordon Korman. Balzer & Bray, 2019. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!

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