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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ungifted

Korman, Gordon. 2012. UNGIFTED. New York: Balzer and Bray (Harper Collins).



Donovan is an especially mischevious kid.  He gets in trouble a lot because he simply can't stop himself. After a harmless prank goes horribly wrong, Donovan finds himself in major trouble with the superintendent himself. But, the superintendent's secretary misunderstands her boss, and the next day Donovan gets a surprise. He is shocked to receive a letter in the mail the next day informing him that he has been accepted to his district's school for the gifted. 

Relieved to have a place to hide from his inevitable punishment, Donovan starts attending the gifted academy. He struggles to fit in and is constantly afraid the mistake will be found out. But, even as his teachers and classmates begin to seriously doubt his giftedness, he finds he brings other strengths to the class and they have things they can learn from him. He becomes a beloved part of the class, as well as their robotics team.

I enjoyed this book. The characters were well written and likeable. I also found myself laughing out loud throughout the book. Every chapter is told from a different character's point of view, and a few times I had to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to remind myself who was telling the story at the moment.

One thing to think about is how this novel portrays gifted students. Many of the members of Donovan's gifted class are stereotypical 'nerds' - one student has no social skills but an extremely high IQ, one is extremely driven to succeed no matter what, one is incredibly bright but has no self confidence. Also, the way the regular students gives me pause. In a real school setting, the divide between the gifted students and mainstream students would never, ever be that pronounced.

Even with this issue in mind, I still enjoyed this book and would recommend it. At the core of it is a story of true friendships and how new friends can change us for the better.

Keep reading,
Mrs. Cox

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