________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 12. . . .November 23, 2012.



Gordon Korman.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2012.
280 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-1-4431-1920-7.

Review by Tanya Boudreau.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

*** /4



Corrosion is a terrible thing. It was all in slow motion, but there was nothing you could do to stop it. With a crack, the bolt snapped, pieces whizzing out of sight. The ball of the world and heavens toppled and hit the ground with a whump!

I was still wrapped up in The Deed, lost in The Moment. It took the twin gasps from the Daniels to break the trance. And by that time, the heavy ball was already rolling.

Oh, no…

The big bronze globe careened down the hill toward the gym, picking up speed as it went. I ran after it, although what I thought I could do to stop it, I have no idea.

“Help me!” I called to the Daniels. But they were heading in the opposite direction. They liked to watch me do stuff; they had a lot less interest in hanging around for the consequences.


Donovan Curtis, the class clown and troublemaker at Hardcastle Middle School, is hiding out in the gifted program at the Academy for Scholastic Distinction. He’s hoping to avoid Dr. Schultz because the superintendent is likely to blame him for vandalizing school property. His friends, ‘the Daniels’, tease him relentlessly for being with the gifted students, but he stays to avoid possible suspension and an expensive repair bill. Although Donovan barely passes his classes (his teachers agree “his gift is nowhere”), he feels he belongs with the Academy’s robotics team. His contributions (naming and decorating the robot) may seem inconsequential, but they humanize the robot and motivate the team. For the first time, Donovan feels like he belongs. He continues to help his classmates by convincing his 26-six-year old sister to teach the Human Growth and Development course the class needs to avoid summer school and by introducing them to things that make them feel normal.

     Korman’s newest book includes suspense and comedy. Although some of the chapters include pop culture references that may date the book as time passes, readers will relate to the characters who have to deal with peer pressure, family problems, and identity development. The narration alternates with each chapter; sometimes in the voice of an adult (a teacher or family member), or a student. When Donovan is accused of cheating on a test, Ms. Bevelaqua questions his classmates. Someone has helped Donovan pass an extremely difficult exam so he can stay in the gifted program. Excerpts from these interviews appear near the end of the book. Ungifted’s book’s storyline should appeal to boys and girls.


Tanya Boudreau is a librarian with the Cold Lake Public Library in Cold Lake, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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