'The School for Whatnots' Book Club: Day 2

By: Shanleigh Klassen Photo By: @lostinbookworld
“Josie didn’t think. She didn’t plan. She just felt.”

Welcome back to the Book Club Read-Along of The School for Whatnots by Margaret Peterson Haddix, our book pick from the March REAL FRIENDS OwlCrate Jr box. This is turning out to be such a surprising book, with twists at every turn and I’m excited to hear what you all think.

Just a gentle reminder that this is a spoiler discussion for chapters 25 - 46 of The School for Whatnots and anyone who comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate Jr box, one per post. If you're not caught up just yet, no worries! You have until April 22nd to join in on the conversation, so take your time and come back to the discussion questions when you're ready!

The Story Continues . . .

Ivy and her older sister Lucinda haul Josie into their apartment before she's seen. Lucinda proceeds to shock both Josie and Ivy (and the narrator!) by revealing that all the students in Max’s class were real children. Lucinda had also pretended to be a whatnot for a rich kid named Ashley and learned the truth when she started middle school.

Lucinda hates Ashley and the whole whatnot system. She tells Ivy and Josie they cannot be seen together again or they could risk their futures. Ivy and Josie decide they still need answers, so they meet up to sneak back into their school.

Meanwhile, Max is still very upset with having been lied to for years and his family’s vacation is put on hold. Nurse Beverley takes Max back to his school to try and find out where Josie is, and there they meet Lola, the android who has looked after Josie all this time . . . and also, the story’s narrator.

Lola reveals to us that she was in the very first class of whatnots to a rich kid she refers to as Child X. Child X was cruel to Lola, and when the creator behind the whatnots, Dr. Gonzagaga, investigated, Child X says it was because they knew Lola was an android. Dr. Gonzagaga realized the benefits of having real children mixed in with the whatnots, and reassigned Lola who proceeded to be a model whatnot to many rich children over the years. Then one day, Lola was told to secretly oversee Josie’s upbringing.

Back in the present, Lola takes Max and Nurse Beverly to the principal’s office in the hopes of finding out Josie’s information, but they’re interrupted. As the three of them hide in the closet, Max’s parents enter the room along with the shadowy figure from before. Max’s father offers to buy the Whatnot Corporation entirely, but the person outright refuses.

At this same time, Josie and Ivy also arrive at the school and head toward the principal’s office. Josie overhears the figure state that she and Max will never see each other again and without thinking, Josie bursts into the room. Hearing Josie’s voice, Max rushes out of the closet.

The shadowy figure is then revealed to be an android as she transforms the room into a jail cell and folds itself into the floor, leaving everyone locked inside. The narrator informs us that Dr. Gonzagaga has been using whatnots as doubles for years.

Just then, Max’s mother recognizes Lola and we learn that she was the cruel Child X from Lola’s memories. Max’s mother had no idea she had been raised alongside whatnots and had lied to Dr. Gonzagaga all those years ago. She apologizes to Lola for how she treated her as a child and Lola forgives her.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Josie was able to act like a normal kid when all the others would have been removed from Max’s school for that same behavior. Why do you think Josie was allowed to act like a real child when no one other than Max was supposed to?

  2. The use of the narrator in this book, as someone who is both within the story and outside it, is very unique. Do you like how the narrator is used in The School for Whatnots?

  3. So many surprises have been revealed! What's surprised you the most so far?

Make sure you join us again on Friday as we discuss the end of The School for Whatnots. I can't wait to see what happens next!

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