Ungifted by Gordon Korman (2012)

ungiftedA funny book with a lovably incompetent protagonist.

Recommended grade level: 4-8

Pages: 280 (for ISBN 9780061742668)

Genre(s) and keywords: humor

Tone/Style: self-deprecating

Pace: moderate

Topics: robotics, contests, cheating, intelligence, social abilities

Themes: feeling inadequate, finding your talents, self-discovery

Summary: The word “gifted” has never been applied to 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, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy for Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students.

It isn’t exactly what Donovan had intended, but there couldn’t be a more perfect hideout. That is, if he can fool his family, the teachers, the superintendent, and a school full of fellow students with IQs well above genius level. (Source)

Who will like this book?: There’s a lot of demand for light and funny books, and not a lot to choose from that’s above fourth or fifth-grade reading level. I recommend this one a lot, especially to kids who aren’t big readers.

Who won’t like this book?: Though it has a few serious moments, this book is mostly about laughs; realism and emotional exploration are not priorities here.

Other comments:


Readalikes: Some other funny books about hapless middle school boys: The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry, Liar, Liar by Gary Paulsen, and Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos. Also recommend Korman’s titles Slacker, Schooled, and No More Dead Dogs.


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