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Ungifted Paperback – February 18, 2014


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray; Reprint edition (February 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061742678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061742675
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (162 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,007 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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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

14 of 14 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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37 of 44 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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82 of 105 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cabub Bana on November 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
ThIs book is a book that can make anyone fall in love with reading. This is one of the best books ever written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Casey on June 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover
My grandson laughed out loud as he read this book and refused to let me read even a page until he had finished. It is his favorite book of the year. (He read 40 + this school year.)

Those who question education's present reliance on standardized tests as a determinant of academic excellence and not of test taking ability, will enjoy this.

The picture of the gifted as socially misfit may offend many. But others will delight in their problem solving abilities based on knowledge and their ability to appreciate the practical, if often, anti-social problem solving abilities of the *ungifted* hero.

Korman has the ability to take *trends* and upend them. He likes children.

The lesson plan on human development and the pregnant subject's (the hero's sister) reliance on the *gifted* children's ability to provide quicker medical information to her than her * health providers* merits 5 stars alone.

My personal bias is towards realizing that some people are more academically talented than others and that they should be given support and encouragement. However, this obsession with testing as a determinative of academic ability is highly damaging. And it is worthy of the scalding that Korman gives it.

The truly gifted are intellectually creative and have highly developed *intuition* and that quality is elusive in testing.

And then there is the quality of perseverance and invention which propels so many *ungifted* to distinguished contributions. Delightful book!
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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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