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Ungifted

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  7,429 ratings  ·  1,004 reviews
The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like Donovan Curtis. It's usually more like Don't try this at home. So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he's finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a speci ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published August 21st 2012 by Balzer + Bray (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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TheBookSmugglers
This is going to be a review in two parts.

Part the First: In Which I Talk About the Plot, Characters and General Thoughts About Ungifted

If Donovan Curtis has one gift, it is his gift for troublemaking. With his poor impulse control and his recklessness, chaos follows him wherever he goes. After a particularly stupid prank with its costly and dangerous result, he thinks he has gone too far. But instead of being punished for it, an error by his school’s administrator sends him to the Academy of Sc
...more
mya x
I truly believe that Ungifted shows Mr. Korman at his best. I think that he stereo-typed that Gifted program a little. I'm in one and all the kids there are more crazy than socially awkward brainiacs. We know a lot and we do have high IQs, but Noah is unrealistically smart and stupid at the exact same time. I think Chloe shows the best example of what Gifted kids are REALLY like.
Barb Middleton
Middle school students hankering for themes such as rebellion against school rules and authority, burgeoning interest in girls, friendship issues, identity, and growing up will get all that and more in Korman's novel. The writing is well-done along with the character development and humor, but my adult brain wanted the issue of "gifted" tackled even more. Several Goodreads reviewers have pointed out, and rightfully so, that the gifted students in this story are presented as stereotyped nerds wit ...more
Jaina
This book is Gordon Korman at his best. It's also not very old, so that gives me hope for his future books. I hate it when an author kind of slowly slides down in quality until you go from great books to reading mud, you know? But this is definitely not the case with Gordon Korman. He's at the top of his game in Ungifted, and I love it!

Donovan is not gifted. At all. He's average in every sense of the word - but he does get in trouble more than the average person. He has what could almost be some
...more
Tari
Korman stereotypes gifted kids and spec ed teachers throughout this book -- almost as though he had never met one. Fact: most gifted kids don't know they're gifted, and certainly don't know their IQ. Also fact: giftedness comes with a variety of benefits and challenges, and not all of them include tunnel vision, awkwardness, or the tendency to be sanctimoniously judgmental. Spec Ed teachers (and yes, gifted ed is Special Education)do not sit around wondering how a student got into the gifted sch ...more
Aidan
This is a really impressive novel! Lots of a adults try to write books from the point of a child, and fail. This doesn't. When a kid named Donovan accedently destroys his school gym with a large bronze sphere (don't ask), a principle screws up and gets him sent to a smarty-pants private school instead of juvenile detention. There, he's the only one who's ever:

Explored YouTube

Skateboarded

Made a half-decent joke

Played a video game

Wrecked a school gym with a bronze ball (no surprise there)

He's goi
...more
Richie Partington
Richie's Picks: UNGIFTED by Gordon Korman, Balzer+ Bray, September 2012, 288p., ISBN: 978-0-06-174266-8

"You may ask yourself, 'Well, how did I get here?'"
-- Talking Heads, "Once in a Lifetime"

Donovan Curtis, IQ: 112:

"Nussbaum noticed my zombielike concentration. 'Dude, what are you doing?'
"I didn't answer, and he didn't really expect me to. He knew me. They both did.
"I cocked back the branch, and unloaded a home run swing. The impact vibrated up through my arms to my brain stem, and into every c
...more
bennett
When I was in 1st grade, my best friend got into the gifted program. Boy, was I jealous. Every Thursday, 2 or 3 students in my class would go out to another classroom, and come back just before school ended. I felt stupid. Why were they smarter than me? I'm creative and clever and got good grades! At least, I thought I did. But seeing other kids get treated special, I felt left out. How were they better than me?

The next year, I was accepted into the gifted program. I was estatic! Finally, Thursd
...more
Brandy
When Donovan hit the Atlas statue with a tree branch, he really just meant it to make a loud, echoey clang. He had no way of knowing that the 400-pound-globe on Atlas's shoulders was held on with one single rusty bolt. Donovan didn't mean to send the ball careening down the hill, through the glass doors, and across the gym floor. So when a disciplinary screw-up sends him to the Academy for Scholastic Distinction, he didn't really mean for that to happen, either--but it's a great place to hide ou ...more
Duffy Pratt
Donovan Curtis' only gift is his unerring knack for getting himself in trouble. The gift somehow goes haywire, and instead of in trouble, he finds himself going to a special school for gifted kids. Hilarity ensues (or it would have if this were a better book).

The writing here is fine. The story is fairly tight. Everything works very much as it should. But there is an underlying irony. In a book where the message is that each person has his own gift, Korman resorts unabashedly to stereotyping jus
...more
Cindy
Honestly, I would not have picked up this book if it had not just made the CCBA (Colorado Children's Book Award) nominee list for 2015. I had seen an advertisement for this book when it was among the selections in my most recent book fair, and, although the premise sounded cute, it didn't grab me.

Well, silly me! I actually got a big kick out of this story, and appreciated the clever way it is laid out. Basic premise: Donovan Harris is a middle school class clown. By his own admission, he just ne
...more
Maddie
This book was amazing. But its is pretty easy so high leveled 5th graders and average 6th grade readers should be challenged with it
Neeka
Jan 14, 2015 Neeka added it
Ungifted by Gordon Korman is about a troublemaker boy named Donovan Curtis. One day Donovan pulls a major prank at school. He thinks he is going to get in trouble but instead he gets sent to the ASD, The Academy of Scholastic Distinction, where gifted students go. Donovan was surprised and so were the students at his old school. The students at ASD are welcome to Donovan but as they start to realize that he isn't good at any subject, they start to get a little suspicious.
This book reminds me
...more
Nick Bull
This book was awesome. The beginning and the end were my favorite parts. I liked how he made jokes when there was something bad going on to soften the blow. The story was really good. It was really a twist when he got in trouble but then by accident he got out of trouble. The main character (I forget his name) seems to grow from this whole experience. He starts in the book as a trouble-maker cant seem to stop getting in some kind of, but when he gets put in the "smart" school his life gets turne ...more
Anyce Paul-Emile
How would it feel like to be around people with IQs of 159 or 206, thinking that you are just like them, when your not? It feels weird doesn't it? Well this is what happened to a kid named Donovan Curtis. This is a realistic fictional and funny story that has you on the edge of your seat for a lot of it because of the exciting events that happen. ***SPOILER ALERT*** Some events that are happening in the story are that Donovans sister has a baby girl, the Academy for Scholastic Distinction’s rob ...more
Dustin
Have you ever felt out of place? Like your the only one that doesn’t belong? What would you do if you were ever accidentally put into the gifted program? This is what’s happening to Donovan, in the book “Ungifted” by Gordon Korman.”They traced my family all the way back to the revolution. And in all those forefathers and foremothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins, there was nobody like me.”(pg.1) Donovan has gotten into some trouble. He was accidentally put down on the gifted program list. The supe ...more
Alexandra
"Gifted" is not quite the word you would use to describe Donavan Curtis... he's more "different" or "special" in a very unusual way. Donavan curtis is pretty much your everyday average kid. Except unlike all the other kids, he has a need to do trouble making! If someone dares him to do something you can always count on Donovan to do it!! One day when he "accidentally" destroys half the school's gym, the principle mistakenly writes his name down on a GIFTED paper and Donavan finds out and accepts ...more
Ms. Yingling
Donovan is one of those kids with no impulse control. Hitting the statue of Atlas with a branch wouldn't have been that bad of an idea... if the one bolt holding the world on Atlas' shoulders hadn't given way, sending the 400 pound globe careening right through the glass doors of the gym and into the middle of a basketball game. While the superintendent is there. Donovan is used to being in trouble, so cooperates when the superintendent writes down his name, and waits for the fateful call that g ...more
Laura
Donovan Curtis, a pretty average kid with an instinct for trouble, accidentally ends up qualifying to attend a school for the academically gifted. He reluctantly decides to attend the school, mostly to keep from being exposed as the mastermind of a gym-destroying fiasco at his regular school. His class is competing in a robotics competition and, despite his lack of robotics knowledge or skill, he becomes an integral member of the team. Though his classmates and teachers realize that he doesn't h ...more
Holly


I borrowed this book from a student who had liked it, and since I teach gifted kids, I wanted to read it. I also read some criticism about it on a gifted education website, so I was curious about that. I thought the premise of the story was funny - a trouble-maker and middle-schooler of average intelligence, Donovan, pulls a prank that gets out of control, and the superintendent, who prides himself with a well-run district, wants him gone. However, Donovan's name gets accidentally picked up as
...more
Junie K.
Ungifted by:Gordon Korman
Realistic Fiction
280 pages
Ungifted is a fantastic book about a kid named Donovan Curtis who is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction. Donovan is a troublemaker who has pulled a prank that even he thinks has gone to far! But when the adminastrator makes a mistake Donovan is suddenly put in to a school for the gifted and talented instead of getting expelled(or worse!) Donovan thinks this is the absolute perfect hide out for a trouble maker like him. But even he kno
...more
Gail Gauthier
"Ungifted is the story of a run-of-the-mill kid who has a history of stumbling into disruptive rather than criminal trouble. After accidentally causing expensive damage to the middle school gym, he takes advantage of a paperwork error so he can hide out in the district's school for the academically gifted.

I found the basic premise for the book believable. Donovan had legitimate reasons for being concerned about the financial trouble he was going to make for his family if he was fingered for the
...more
Cheryl
A little bit simplistic - it covers so many characters, issues, and themes in a quick read. And a little implausible - for example, my complaint as a teacher in the Midwest was that so much money was spent on the children with disabilities that the gifted kids didn't get any real support.

But still, a fun & sensitive read for upper MG/ lower YA and for the adults who love them, no matter where their talents lie.

PS. The students at the Academy were stereo-typically nerdy and focused, but I got
...more
Laura
This was a cute, entertaining read. It did stereotype gifted kids and gifted schools, which annoyed me if I focused on it, so I didn't. I get why Korman did it, to contrast the "normal" Donovan with his "gifted" classmates, but it didn't reflect reality. Having experienced gifted programs/schools myself, sure, there may have been some kids like Korman portrayed in the book, but the book characters were definitely exaggerated. I don't think he was trying to depict a realistic story though, just a ...more
Diana
Donovan Curtis is your average, everyday goof-off student. When one of his practical jokes creates some serious trouble, he'll do anything to avoid getting caught and causing his family more trouble. Then a clerical error lands him at the elite Academy for Scholastic Distinction, and it seems like the perfect place to hide out until things cool down. But can Donovan keep up with the geniuses at his new school? Or will his antics catch up to him again?

This was one of my favorite books this year.
...more
Angela Lesser
"Ungifted" was a very good book. It shows the life of a middle schooler named Donovan. Donovan is a troublemaker and pulls a huge stunt that sends the superintendent on a search for him. In the confusion of the moment, Donovan is sent to the gifted program instead of being suspended. Although he doesn't blend in in the gifted program, he learns what is truly important!
Kelly
This is your basic story of trouble makers vs the brainy nerds....and how they learn to come together and learn there is more than meets the eye about one another. The best sentence from this story: "Challenge isn't going to come from any curriculum, no matter how hard they make it - it's going to come from life."
Lisa
This book was recommended to me by one of my baby nerdfighter friends at the STEM school. He said it was "awesome", "hilarious", and he wanted to see the graphic novel verision. They want a graphic novel verision of everything, which is good because I was there for graphic novel book club...Anywho, Gordon Korman knows his audience, and I can see why middle school guys - gifted and ungifted alike - dig this book. It reminded me a bit of a Carter Finally Gets It or Swim the Fly but for the younger ...more
Melanie
The boys and I enjoyed this book. I like the fact that different kinds of "smart" kids were represented. It has great messages about respecting people and triggers thoughts about loyalty to friends and what it means. Best of all - it's funny!
Alexis Spears
Gordon Korman made this book so it was easy for a person to get hooked on it. I love how he made this book humorous, yet realistic. It's also the kind of book some people could relate to. What I mean by that is, Donovan, the main character, faces some conflicts that some people around my age would do the same thing he would do as in lie to save yourself if it meant saving your family also.
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Korman wrote his first book, "This Can't be Happening at Macdonald Hall", when he was 12 years old, for a coach who suddenly found himself teaching 7th grade English. He later took that episode and created a book out of it, as well, in "The Sixth Grade Nickname Game", wherein Mr. Huge was based on that 7th grade teacher.

Korman moved to New York City, where he studied film and film writing. While i
...more
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“Challenge isn't going to come from any curriculum, no matter how hard they make it. It's going to come from life.” 5 likes
“Hey, things like that happen at the Academy too,” I insisted, almost triumphantly. “Last year the freezers failed so there was no ice for”—the wind went out of my sails as I realized how lame this was going to sound—“the sushi bar.” He nodded sympathetically. “You guys should get T-shirts made. You know: I Survived the Sushi Crisis.” 3 likes
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