Monday, January 21, 2013

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

UngiftedI was attracted to this book when I saw some of my students reading it, and I gave it a rating of five out of five. Donovan Curtis is always getting in trouble; he doesn't think about consequences before he does things. If he did, he wouldn't have whacked the statue of Atlas and sent a huge ball crashing through the gym doors. The superintendent catches him, but Donovan is mistakenly placed into the building for gifted students before he can be punished. Donovan is definitely not gifted, but he finds the new school is a great place to hide out. His classmates and teachers know he doesn't belong, but they never consider that the district might have made a mistake. Donovan is able to help his classmates in ways they'd never expect, and he is the best controller for Tin Man, the school's entry into the robotics competition. Donovan has mixed emotions about the geeky kids at his new school, and he's getting razzed by his best buddies from the old school. Will the good he brings to the gifted school outweigh the problems he creates? How long will it take before the superintendent finds him again or he's discovered to be ungifted?

The plot of this book provides humor as Donovan does his wacky antics. His classmates sense that he's not gifted, but he makes them feel kind of normal. Noah is a great character. He has an IQ over 200, but does his best to fail. He almost becomes obsessed when Donovan introduces his to Youtube. The night of the school dance, he shows up dressed like a WWE wrestler. The author presents the story from different points of view (Donovan, Noah, the superintendent, teachers, etc.), and it works. I liked how all of the personalities came together for a surprising conclusion to the plot.

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