Brandy's Reviews > Ungifted

Ungifted by Gordon Korman
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Aug 26, 12

bookshelves: 2012, boy-books, bullies, library, for-work, realistic, teen, parents_exist, middle-grade
Read in August, 2012

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 out for a while. It doesn't take long for anyone to figure out that Donovan doesn't belong with the geniuses at his new school--but Donovan does have some gifts the geniuses don't have. But it'll take more than joystick skills and a pregnant sister to keep him in the gifted school.

Really enjoyed this--sweet and sincere while still being goofy and funny. Donovan seems like a real 8th grader, with impulse-control issues and a prankster attitude. His immediate reaction to his new classmates is to see them all as huge, hopeless nerds, but he quickly comes to care about them, defending them against his thuggish old-school friends. He tries hard, and manages to be a really decent kid under all the mischief.

Definitely one to recommend to middle-schoolers; the brightly-colored robot cover should help it find an audience.

[Aside: as an adult reader, there are plenty of plot holes big enough to drive their robot through, and, like Schooled, Ungifted is plagued with similarly unrealistic expectations of what middle-schoolers are like. Still, it's charming and uplifting, as long as you don't think too hard about it.]

[Aside #2: I assume Korman doesn't have kids of his own, given the lack of fuss and drama made about a 4-hour labor, except to compare it against the 90-minute labor of a dog birthing 4 puppies, and say that the dog had it easy. A 4-hour labor is unusually speedy, though the book makes it appear that it took forever.]
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