All Kate Peters wants is to star in her school's fall performance of Peter Pan. She doesn't want to go to the 'Genius School', Whittaker Magnet School, and besides, she's not a genius anyway. Her uncle George is, though, and Whittaker wants him.
To clarify, Kate's mother, June, and George are siblings, but they were born about thirty years apart, so George is two years younger than Kate.
When George goes online to look at school districts, he finds some disturbing information about Whittaker. Their district is in the shape of a mutant octopus, with branches reaching out seemingly at random. Kate and George later discover that this is because Whittaker changes it's borders in order to lasso in all the intelligent kids. That's why Kate is being made to go to Whittaker: she and George live at the same address. Whittaker can't have George without Kate.
There are plenty of strange things going on at Whittaker: every day they have a test. In fact, that's really all they do. Whittaker isn't actually teaching them anything, just training them to be good test-takers.
But the real trouble doesn't start until several people begin to act strangely. During one story time, one of the librarians suddenly jumps up from his chair and starts telling a story that is not in his voice. And just as he finishes, he collapses back into his seat, dead. As time goes on, one boy pretends to be a monkey, a girl continues running into a wall until she passes out, and a woman behaves very inappropriately in front of the First Lady.
There has always been talk of Whittaker Magnet School being haunted, but could there really be a demon running around? Kate befriends Pogo, a librarian who can only speak in nursery rhymes, and who definitely knows something about what's going on.
This is a satirical novel, which you might want to realize before finishing the book. I didn't realize it for a while, which was why I had a rather low opinion of the believability of the story. But I love satire, so now a lot of the book makes more sense!
In the very beginning, I really wanted to murder Kate. She was an arrogant little brat who was rather mean to her uncle George (who of course is awesome). But as it all continues, she gets over herself a little and isn't as annoying. The story isn't really a character-developing one, though, so it's not like she went through a huge, inspiring change. My favorite characters are definitely George and Pogo. George is always pointing out when things are redundant (like saying 'ISBN number' or 'space-age NASA technology'), and Pogo's nursery-rhyme speech is so much fun! But of course, most of the novel was told from the view point of Kate.
I wasn't very happy with the ending of the book. Kate and George really didn't do much throughout the entire thing except listen in to what everyone else was doing. They might've solved the mystery, but they didn't solve the problem.
If you don't understand satire, you probably shouldn't read this book. You might find it enjoyable (it's a really easy read and has lots of humorous parts), but you would probably get annoyed at how unrealistic it is. But if you do like satire, or just want to give it a go, go ahead! I read this book in practically one sitting, so it shouldn't take up a ton of your time (though you might stop several times and wonder what all happened in the last twenty pages, because it won't seem like much).