I'm trying to identify the title of a book that's generally about a male protagonist who transfers to a new school where learning is partially conducted by a device placed on the head, which turns out to be a mind controlling effort by the malevolent school. Here are some details that I can remember, which I think are true:

  • it is a novel that is relatively recent (i.e. 2010 onwards?) and targeted to early YA readers, set in the future
  • it begins with the protagonist at a "normal" school before receiving an invitation to attend this advanced school for gifted students
  • the school may have been called an "academy"
  • the learning device may have been described as "helmets" which injected knowledge into the students brains
  • the main plot point is that the protagonist discovers the true, nefarious nature of the helmet device
  • the cover of the book is animated/cartoon and is of a futuristic cityscape with the male protagonist flying in an autonomous, purple vehicle being chased by other vehicles
  • the flying vehicles were called "pods", were voice-controlled and came in various sizes
  • 1
    This is the plot of Tripods by John Christopher, but that was published in 1967. - And it didn't have flying vehicles.
    – Chenmunka
    Aug 25, 2021 at 8:22
  • The description reminded me of the Tripods trilogy too, but I don't think that's what OP is looking for. Feb 7 at 4:20

1 Answer 1


It's Will Buster and the Gelmet Helmet by Odo Hirsh (2004):

One Monday, Will Buster is sitting through another dull history lesson about the Wizard Wars of the 21st century, when he discovers that he has been selected for the opportunity of a lifetime. Or that's what his parents seem to think.

A high-speed HoverPod whisks Will away to Professor Alphonse Gelmet's Academy of Leadership Excellence. Here, special helmets effortlessly deliver information into the students' brains. Without doing any work at all, they'll become encyclopaedias of knowledge!

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