Robert Owens's Reviews > Ungifted

Ungifted by Gordon Korman
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bookshelves: kindle, fiction, school, coming-of-age

A couple years ago the PTO of my school provided this book to the fourth graders at the end of the year. There was an extra copy that was given to our classroom. Meh.

Over the last year or so, my son read the 39 Clues series. He kept mentioning Korman. Hmm . . . the name sounded familiar. As I re-tooled my classroom library this summer, this book stood out. I had since heard how wonderful it was. Turns out there's a couple other Korman books on the shelves too.

I found sponsors for my fourth graders this year. That means each month I am able to purchase them a book from Scholastic. For December, I purchased each student a copy of Ungifted. It dawned on me I should read this now. Yeah, my eyes asked for a digital version of the book.

Banged this out today. I liked the book. I wanted to rally like it, but there were some bothersome parts.

This wasn't what I thought the book was going to be about. I thought there was a special needs child who somehow miraculously comes up big. That is NOT this story!

Here we have troublemaker Donovan who really messed up this last time. Inexplicably, he gets off . . . kind of. The superintendent's note gets attached to the gifted enrollment list and Donovan gets to hide out at the Academy for a month before this all blows up.

During that month, he transforms the geeks and the nerds all the while baffling the staff.

This is where the story, which has an interesting premise, becomes fantastical. The very first thing that would have been done would be to check Donovan's test scores. Since there weren't any, the investigation would have begun immediately.

This story was telegraphed from the beginning. Because of that, some of the richness was lost in obligatory cliches. It began reading like a script for a movie/television drama. And while it's not necessarily bad to turn books into films, when it is written with that as its intention (seemingly), it rings hollow.

Donovan was found out. He was removed from the program. But he showed up at the robotics competition nonetheless. And, of course, he manned the joystick. Such melodrama.

I would have liked to have seen the story unfold differently. The characters were so rich. I loved how the story was told through first person diaries of the characters at hand. I thought that was an interesting approach that made for good reading.

I liked much of what happened in the story. It was compelling. It was nice seeing how Donovan learned from the nerds and how they learned from him. At the same time, it was replete with cliche.

I did not like how Donovan equated his situation to the nerds needing the sex ed class. The two situations are not synonymous in that Donovan committed an act that landed him in his situation while the nerds did nothing to land them in their predicament. The school did not have the eye on the ball and let down the students.

Donovan demonstrated he had skills. I liked that. I laughed at a lot of the things in the book and was emotional in others. The rest I was disappointed in because it seemed like Korman took an easy path to the resolution that was easy to see. And I knew from the moment that the test was being taken who helped/cheated.
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Reading Progress

January 3, 2019 – Started Reading
January 3, 2019 – Shelved
January 3, 2019 – Shelved as: kindle
January 3, 2019 – Shelved as: fiction
January 3, 2019 – Shelved as: school
January 3, 2019 – Shelved as: coming-of-age
January 3, 2019 – Finished Reading

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