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Reviewer: Peter Evers, Year 5, Harrow International School Beijing
Book: Ungifted by Gordon Korman
Category: Older Readers (Grades 6-8)
Peter writes: Ungifted is a quirky story about a boy who gets into lots of trouble. Trouble seems to find him. He manages to damage things, such as the basketball gym when people are playing when he simply knocks over a small statue. It’s called Ungifted as the boy does not appear to have any special gifts. As he says himself:
“Gifted? Me? I was the guy who skateboarded down waterslides and shot a SuperSoaker at an electric fence. When people heard my name, they thought, don’t try this at home! Not gifted.”
The highlights of this story for readers include its humor and Donovan, the boy who manages to get into all sorts of impossible situations. In fact, you often have to ask yourself “how did that happen?” because everything goes wrong so quickly. It is also written in the first person so we get inside the mind of the boy. The lowlight of this story is that it is quite long, but that is my only complaint. The book sometimes even made me laugh out loud (which annoyed my mum).
On reflection, I would recommend this book for kids who like comedy, laughing, and enjoy reading about impossible moments – things that you just don’t think could happen. I think it would suit ages 9-14, as it covers middle school age in the story.
Overview: The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like Donovan Curtis. It’s usually more like Don’t try this at home. So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he’s finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a special program for gifted and talented students.
Publisher’s overview via Harper Collins