Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Review: Ungifted by Gordon Korman

Title: Ungifted
Author: Gordon Korman
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Rating: 3/5

Cover Impressions:
The cover is super cute.  The colors are great and the image of the robot is fun.  I can see where this would appeal to kids.

The Gist:
Donovan Curtis doesn't know why he does the things that he does.  He just gets an itch and before he knows it, he is in a world of trouble.  When his biggest mistake yet inadverntantly leads to a mix up that gets him labeled as "Gifted", Donovan is thrust into a world of the super-smart and the super-geeky.  As he struggles to fly under the radar, he becomes more involved than he ever thought he would and starts to see the Academy Geeks in a whole new light.


Ungifted is a well-written middle grade novel.  It is a fun, light story that is perfect for young readers and easy enough for reluctant readers.  The plot progresses steadily and has some very light hearted moments.  I enjoyed watching Donovan as realized that the gifted kids were fun and interesting and that they were his true friends.  Some of his actions left Donnie a little unlikeable, but he did manage to grow by the end of the novel.

The other characters are cute, if a little stereotypical.  I enjoyed Noah the most and was amused by his constant yearning to be expelled from the Academy.  Chloe was also a cute character, but I felt the romantic element a little unnecessary and distracting.
I wasn't a big fan of the alternating narrative.  Perhaps if it had been less random and had a little more development among fewer characters, I would have enjoyed it more.  I also noticed an odd undercurrent of public school bashing.  Admittedly, as a Canadian, I am not fluent in the issues plaguing the American school system, however, as a teacher, I felt a little insulted.  We do the best we can with what we are given and I felt that the author wasn't giving that process credit.

I can see this book appealing to boys (as most of Gordon Korman's books do) and being an enjoyable read for those reluctant readers.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

10 and up
Gender: Both
Sex: None
Violence: Bullying
Inappropriate Language: None
Substance Use/Abuse: None


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