Donovan Curtis has always had difficulty with impulse control, and if there is some kind of trouble at Hardcastle Middle School, you can be sure that he is in the middle of it. His classmates voted him Most Likely to Wind Up in Jail two years in a row. When he breaks a school statue that causes massive damage to the school gym, he expects that he will be in major trouble with the school superintendent; however, just the opposite happens. Instead of being suspended or expelled, an administrative mix-up results in Donovan being sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a school for gifted students. Donovan Curtis, IQ 112, definitely does not belong at the Academy.
Donovan tries to fly under the radar at the Academy. He hopes that if no one notices the error, he will never be punished or have to pay for the damage he caused. He also does not want to disappoint his proud parents with the truth that he is not gifted. However, it does not take long for his classmates and teachers at the Academy to know that something is not right with Donovan’s placement. He works as hard as he can, but he is completely lost in his classes. As his teachers try to find what, if any, talents Donovan has, his classmates see the benefit of having an ordinary student at their school for extraordinary children. Donovan introduces his new friends to YouTube and class pranks. He also comes up with a solution when a few of his peers are faced with going to summer school because they are lacking a credit in a human development course. It doesn’t take long for the students at the Academy to become very attached to Donovan, and they will do anything, including cheating, to keep him at their school.
Gordan Korman has a gift for writing humorous novels for middle school boys, and Ungifted does not disappoint. This charming page-turner is perfect for reluctant readers in grades 5-8. Boys who have trouble with always being on their best behavior will relate to Donovan’s inability to resist mischief. His transformation from a troublemaker to thoughtful brother, son and friend is both believable and inspiring.
4 out of 5 stars
Grades 5 and up