When my 12 year old son finished reading Ungifted by Gordon Korman (Mr. Prolific), two things happened. First, he said “this is the best book I read all summer” and then he asked if he could find a website that calculated his IQ. I let him give it a try, although we talked about the validity of online tools and about why IQ is just one measure of a person. But he was curious because Ungifted (read excerpts) centers around a school for the gifted, and what happens when a “regular student” enters their midst and messes things up, for the better.
Donovan Curtis is a troublemaker from the public school, who is always instigating one mess or another, and when one of his impulsive decisions goes completely awry and causes damage to his school, he finds himself unexpectedly and mistakenly in a school for gifted kids, thanks to the bumbling school superintendent. The story quickly becomes a rather predictable tale of the outsider changing the group in a good way while the group changes the outsider in a profound way. I enjoyed Korman’s storytelling, as always, but felt as if he dug up one too many stereotypes of nerdy kids, anxious school superintendents, and other characters that pepper this story.
The climax scene, involving a robot named Tin Man Metallica Squarepants (great name!) and a rival robot, Potzilla, is quite amusing and fused with high energy and humor, and Donovan shows some true colors as the story progresses as a friend with a large heart. Maybe that is what my son was talking about.
Peace (in the gift),