Monday, March 3, 2014

Book talk: Ungifted by Gordon Korman

Like a lot of us, Donovan isn't stupid, but he's not an academic genius, either. Actually, I'm wrong. Donovan is kind of stupid. He hit a statue pretty hard, and part of it rolled off and destroyed much of his school's gym, causing thousands and thousands of dollars worth of damage. Luckily, no one was hurt or killed. But the principal was mad. Very, very mad. And mad people can get distracted and put names on the wrong list because they're too busy being mad to pay attention. Instead of putting Donovan's name on some bad student list, the principal put Donovan's name on a list of kids recommended for the gifted school: the Academy of Scholastic Distinction. The geniuses. And Donovan's no genius.

So what does Donovan do? He certainly doesn't want to bring it to the principal's attention. It would actually be funny if he could just pass his classes there, but they're really, really hard. He's in over his head. The smart kids' math classes are way, way harder than anything he can handle. In fact, the only thing he can do at the genius school is drive the robot the other kids assembled. As one well-versed in video games, he's pretty good at that. He really likes the smart kids and they seem to like him. In spite of himself, Donovan loves his new school.

But how is Donovan going to stay at a school where he can't pass his classes and even his teachers suspect he's there by mistake?

Ungifted by Gordon Korman. 280 pages. 2012: Balzer + Bray. Booktalk to intermediate grades (3-6) and middle school.

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