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Ungifted Hardcover – August 21, 2012


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Ungifted + Wonder + The One and Only Ivan
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray; 1 edition (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006174266X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061742668
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-Donovan Curtis is an impulse-driven prankster who, at the start of Ungifted, manages to alienate both the students and faculty of his middle school. First he mocks the basketball team over the school PA system with a derisive cheer and then he whacks the school's statue of Atlas with a stick, knocking the huge globe off and sending it rolling down the hill where it smashes into the gymnasium and stops the big game. When Donovan ends up on the carpet, the district superintendent accidentally adds his name to the roll of gifted students at the Academy for Scholastic Distinction. Although he flounders at his new school, Donovan ends up humanizing a program that focuses on academic achievement and ignores the social aspects of students' success. From his first day when he startles the robotics team by naming their robot, to his saving the class from summer school by drafting his pregnant sister as the answer to a missed credit in Human Development, Donovan finds that his gift lies in helping the smart kids by teaching them how to be "normal." Using an ancestor who survived the Titanic as inspiration, Donovan has a goofy kindness that charms characters and readers alike. Reminiscent of Stanley Yelnats and Joey Pigza, he careens through life much like the out-of-control globe from Atlas's statue. The story is told from the points of view of various characters (each chapter titled with an Un-word), and readers hear from teachers and administrators, students-both gifted and not-and family members. The message is tolerance, and Korman expertly and humorously delivers it in an unpretentious and universally appealing tale.-Jane Barrer, Steinway Intermediate School, New York Cityα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

“Touching, without being overly sentimental, Ungifted is a gem for readers looking for a story where the underdog comes out on top.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))

“From its lovable-robot jacket art to its satisfying conclusion, this will please Korman’s fans and win him new ones.” (ALA Booklist)

“Donovan has a goofy kindness that charms characters and readers alike … The message is tolerance, and Korman expertly and humorously delivers it in an unpretentious and universally appealing tale.” (School Library Journal)

“Funny and insightful.” (Publishers Weekly)

Praise for POP: “A brisk, heartfelt and timely novel.” (New York Times Book Review)

Praise for POP: “Korman goes straight to the heart.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

Praise for POP: “Thought-provoking.” (Publishers Weekly)

More About the Author

Gordon Korman has written more than fifty middle-grade and teen novels. Favorites include the New York Times #1 bestseller The 39 Clues: One False Note, The Juvie Three, Son of the Mob, Born to Rock, and Schooled. Though he didn't play football in high school, Gordon's been a lifelong fan and season ticket holder. He says, "I've always been fascinated by the 'culture of collision' in football and wanted to explore it-not just from the highlight films but from its darker side as well." Gordon lives with his family on Long Island, New York.

Customer Reviews

My 4th grade students LOVE this book!
Karen S.
I gave this book five stars because it is exciting and fun to read i would definitely read it again.
MBH2013
I love how it is from the point of view of different characters each chapter.
Katie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Ksulty on February 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was looking for books for my 10 year old son and this one was recommended, so I read it. The main character is a juvenile delinquent and gets himself into trouble. Not really a good message for my son. Yes there are some good parts but no appropriate for kids who haven't had sex education yet!
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Ungifted had a great premise, a lovable hero in Donovan, and our state librarian association's top award for kid lit.
Please, please don't subject your gifted kids to this book, especially if they are into FLL or FIRST robotics. The characters, setting, and even plot are so offensive my robotics-obsessed, gifted middle schooler ditched the book a third of the way in. He's asked me twice if that's what "real" people think of he and his friends. Sadly son, yes. And that's why this author is a best seller -- he appeals to the kids who have to be bribed to read books. My frustration lies in the fact that his story would have improved with real kids and an accurate portrayal of robotics. The fantasy world he created worked against his theme and plot.
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86 of 109 people found the following review helpful By Tari St Marie on January 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book has such a great premise -- a highly impulsive student accidentally gets placed in a program for gifted students -- that I couldn't wait to read it. I was so disappointed at the portrayal of gifted kids in this book, and wonder if Korman has ever actually set foot in a gifted school so he can understand these complicated kids. Many gifted kids don't even know they're gifted, and most don't know their IQ, but every chapter starts with a person's name and IQ score. IQ is a great place to begin to understand intelligence, but a lousy place to end, and the education of gifted children encompasses social and emotional needs that reach beyond a number and the stereotypical nerd persona that Korman clings to in this book. The storyline wanted to be funny, but reached for that at the expense of credibility. That, combined with the horrendous stereotyping, destroyed any redeeming features the book had.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Brendan H on April 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book, and it had a good concept, but the outlook on the meaning of "gifted" in this book is wrong and sets a bad stereotype for gifted children. The book itself is about a child who causes a lot of trouble and instead of getting caught is sent to the gifted program. He figures that this is a mistake, yet for to the program anyway to hide from the punishment of the trouble he caused.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Boys' Mom on July 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I was very excited about the premise of the book. A trouble-maker boy is accidentally sent to a school for the gifted, and ends up showing everyone that there are different types of giftedness. Unfortunately, that's not what I get from the book at all. Yep, the main character grows and comes into his own by the end of the book. He also helps other kids loosen up. Donovan is quite honestly, unexceptional, albeit a nice kid with a fun sense of humor. I liked him personally and he has potential, but I would have liked to have seen something exceptional in him - besides impulsiveness.

What you do see of giftedness is a bunch of tired half-truths that annoyed me. The Mysterious Benedict Society did a great job of showing people who are exceptional in all sorts of ways. The "gifted" kids are described as having high IQs and stereotypically nerdy. They are all relatively miserable, because none of them have any interests outside academics. Learning isn't fun for them either. They are very serious and need to get outside more. Unfortunately, for these kids, their narrative voices don't even sound gifted to me. Vocabulary and reasoning were average and the repeated "hypotheses" that the gifted female narrator used were pretty lame. She should have used the rest of the scientific method to seem more with it. We have to take for granted that these kids are incredibly intelligent because they test well.

What the "gifted" kids in this book's world have going for them is phenomenal. The reader learns that gifted students get all the school funding. Their facilities are amazing, and are compared in stark contrast with the smelly school for "normal" kids.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By thehydrogenpoptart on September 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A few months ago, my school had an author visit us. We had the pleasure of hosting Gordon Korman, and he discussed a book called Ungifted with us, even showing us an ARC of it. He didn't tell us much about the book, other than that it was about an "ungifted" kid sent to the wrong school...oh, yeah, and about robots. I instantly made a resolution to read it. Why? Well, that cover is simply irresistible. And secondly, telling someone you're going to mention their school in your book is an extremely good way to get that person to read your book.

Ungifted is, partly, about robots, but it's so much more than that. Our ungifted hero, Donovan Curtis, has never been a star student. In fact, he's just pulled his latest prank on the middle school--however accidental it may have been. But in a miraculous twist of fate, the school makes a mistake. Instead of getting into trouble, Donovan is headed to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction. His goal there? Attempt to blend in with the geniuses there, while hiding as the culprit behind his prank that got him into the whole mess in the first place.

This book has a bit of everything in it: it's got action, a heavy dose of humor, and some seriously great characters. Donovan is a character who I think we can all relate to. Of course, he's a troublemaker, but surely everyone has felt ungifted at least once in their lives. Then there's Donovan's quirky teacher, Mr. Osborne, who, trust me, is every kid's dream teacher. Then you have Chloe, and Abigail, and Noah, and Katie...all these supporting characters make for a great reading experience. Not to mention, there are some truly laugh-out-loud moments in here! And...how did I forget the robot?! Ungifted takes the prize for Most Lovable Robot I Have Read In A Book This Year.
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