Summary: The Unteachables
The Unteachables are a group of misfits deemed so hopeless (academically and in terms of behavior) that the school has isolated them in a class of their own. New student Kiana accidentally becomes the newest member of the class and stays — joining Parker, who still can’t read; Aldo, who has anger issues; Elaine (rhymes with pain), and sleepy Rahim whose dad’s band practices all night in their garage.
Mr. Zachary Kermit started off as an enthusiastic schoolteacher, but after a cheating scandal 25 years ago, he’s exactly the opposite. He’s coasting along, barely investing in his students and waiting for retirement. Until the school assigns him to teach Room 117 — The Unteachables. The kids nickname him Ribbit and as the school year progresses, both the kids and Mr. Kermit learn a lot from each other — and maybe the kids aren’t quite unteachable?
First off, the audiobook is phenomenal! The book is told from multiple perspectives: Mr. Kermit, Parker, Kiana, the principal, and some others — each by a different audiobook narrator. This really adds to the storytelling because having so many perspectives can get confusing on audio. The voices helped me easily tell the readers and perspectives apart.
This is also a funny book with plenty of heart. At times, it veers into nearly unbelievable situations, but it’s good fun all around. I really liked all the characters. Parker is a middle schooler who has a provisional drivers’ license since his parents are farmers and Kiana is such a sincere, helpful character adjusting to a blended family.
Knowing Mr. Kermit’s background makes his grouchiness understandable and even endearing. I loved learning about his connection with the enthusiastic new teacher next door to Room 117, Emma Fountain.
Overall: The Unteachables
The Unteachables is a funny, endearing middle-grade book full of hijinks and memorable characters. It features plenty of relevant themes including STEM connections (the kids work on an automobile), adjusting to a blended family, dealing with a grandparent with dementia, and so much more! This was my first Gordon Korman and I’m excited to read more of his work. If you enjoy audiobooks, I would definitely say: do the audiobook.
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Have you read this book or any of Gorman’s gazillion books? He’s so prolific! Which one is your favorite?
More Middle Grade Books with Multiple Narrators
- That’s What Friends Do by Cathleen Barnhart
- Ms. Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson
- The Prettiest by Brigit Young