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4.3 161
by Gordon Korman

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman comes a hilarious and heartfelt novel in which one middle-school troublemaker accidentally moves into the gifted and talented program—and changes everything. For fans of Louis Sachar and Jack Gantos, this funny and touching underdog story is a lovable and goofy adventure with robot fights,


From #1 New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman comes a hilarious and heartfelt novel in which one middle-school troublemaker accidentally moves into the gifted and talented program—and changes everything. For fans of Louis Sachar and Jack Gantos, this funny and touching underdog story is a lovable and goofy adventure with robot fights, middle-school dances, live experiments, and statue-toppling pranks!

When Donovan Curtis pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he’s finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a special program for gifted and talented students.

Although it wasn’t exactly what Donovan had intended, the ASD couldn’t be a more perfectly unexpected hideout for someone like him. But as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything), he shows that his gifts may be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed. 

Editorial Reviews

ALA Booklist
“From its lovable-robot jacket art to its satisfying conclusion, this will please Korman’s fans and win him new ones.”
New York Times Book Review
Praise for POP: “A brisk, heartfelt and timely novel.”
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“Touching, without being overly sentimental, Ungifted is a gem for readers looking for a story where the underdog comes out on top.”
Publishers Weekly
Too much homogeneity is never a good thing. In this funny and insightful middle-grade novel from Korman (Pop), eighth-grader Donovan Curtis is a reckless boy with “poor impulse control,” whose classmates have voted him “Most Likely to Wind Up in Jail.” After Donovan’s gift for chaos causes an especially costly accident at school, a paperwork mix-up sees him transferred to his town’s Academy for Scholastic Distinction, instead of being expelled. Donovan is woefully out of place among the ASD’s young geniuses and scholars, but his normality proves something his new classmates desperately need: as he grows academically, the gifted kids grow socially just from being around him. Donovan, his classmates, and his teachers take turns narrating, and while Korman uses basic archetypes to start (from Donovan’s goofball friends at his old school to the awkward nerds at the ASD), he gradually humanizes each of them, revealing them as complex, changing, and surprising individuals. As Donovan’s classmate Chloe puts it, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Especially if one of those parts is Donovan.” Ages 10–up. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Young
A unique story for middle school students who don't feel they belong. Donovan wasn't known for having a high IQ—in fact, it was just barely normal. One day he destroyed the school's statue of Atlas, by accidently knocking the world off his shoulders, allowing gravity to intervene and rolling through the gymnasium where a basketball game was in progress. The next day (or maybe two or three) Donnie has been admitted to the Academy for Scholastic Distinction, a school for gifted and talented students. Donovan doesn't exactly fit in there, either, but his classmates tolerate him, while his teachers question any decision that brought him there. Yes, it was human error that his name was included on a list in the Superintendent's office, but what is done, is done; and all must live with the consequences—except the school district finding out who really broke Atlas! An easily read chapter book, the main characters alternate chapters in their own voice, and this is a welcome choice for middle school readers without having to worry about any questionable subject matter. This is a nice, safe read! Donovan brings so much more to the Academy than any IQ ever could, and it's because of this other ?gift' he is well liked and even respected by his new classmates. Who else could manage to remove a summer school requirement for students whose lowest grade is usually a B? Readers will learn there is more to life than doing your homework and doing well on tests, though those are obviously important. Korman seems to understand the middle school mind, and this will resonate well with that age as the presented situations seem like they could really have happened, except perhaps the inter-tank communication incident...but one never knows. This is an ideal selection for classroom study since there are many layers of ?drama' and all of the characters are well-developed. Even Beatrice. Reviewer: Elizabeth Young
VOYA - Adrienne Amborski
Middle school class cut-up and troublemaker, Donovan Curtis, has never been recognized as anything but a mediocre student until a monumental mix-up has him placed at the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a magnet school for his district's gifted and talented students. Upon meeting the gifted and talented students, Donovan quickly realizes he has entered the "Isle of Misfit Toys." Using alternate voices in each chapter, well-known author Korman introduces the Academy of Scholastic Distinction's quirky cast of characters. Donovan becomes part of a robotics team which includes: Chloe, a smart girl who yearns for the "normal" existence of a middle school student; Noah, a genius who longs to go to the public school and tries to flunk every test; and Abigail, the overachiever who will stop at nothing to guarantee an Ivy League college admission. With the arrival of Donovan, the robotics team is taken over by his infectious charm and as a result, learns to loosen up and enjoy being teens. Humor fills this book; younger teens will appreciate the laugh-out-loud antics of Donovan and his new friends. Touching, without being overly sentimental, Ungifted is a gem for readers looking for a story where the underdog comes out on top. Reviewer: Adrienne Amborski
VOYA - Gwen Amborski
Ungifted is a very entertaining book. It is humorous and quirky, and a feel-good book. Korman's style of writing is clear for any type of reader. The characters' personalities are true to the teenagers they are meant to portray. Middle school readers who are looking for a funny and quick read will enjoy this book. Reviewer: Gwen Amborski, Teen Reviewer
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 Titanicas 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 City
Kirkus Reviews
The last thing troublemaker and mediocre student Donovan Curtis ever expected was a transfer from Hardcastle Middle School to the prestigious Academy for Scholastic Distinction. When he whacks a statue of Atlas on the butt, and Atlas' globe falls off his shoulders, rolls down the hill, and crashes through the glass doors of the gym, Donovan expects to be in big-time trouble. Instead, he receives a letter informing him that he's been selected to attend ASD. He does attend but soon feels like "some exotic space alien who crash-landed in the gifted program." Donovan's journey through his strange new world is told through multiple points of view, allowing his teachers and gifted classmates to offer thoughts on this clearly ungifted boy in their midst. When the robotics class creates a robot named Tin Man, though, it's Donovan's skill with the joystick, developed by hours of playing video games, that gives the team hope of winning the upcoming competition. And as he and his new friends try to find some common ground, Donovan becomes the heart and soul of the school, if not the brains. Frequent allusions to The Wizard of Oz--with Tin Man the robot, Oz the teacher and themes of brains, heart and courage--add to the charm of this tale of a boy finding his home. (Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Gordon Korman wrote his first book at age fourteen and since then has written more than eighty-five middle grade and teen novels. Favorites include the New York Times—bestselling The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers, Book One: The Medusa Plot; Ungifted; Pop; and Schooled. Gordon lives with his family on Long Island, New York. You can visit him online at www.gordonkorman.com.

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Ungifted 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 161 reviews.
mrsvaljones More than 1 year ago
Donovan Curtis is the troublemaker of Hardcastle Middle School and can often be found at the creation of mischief and chaos. But one day he goes too far, his prank causes damage that no amount of detention will solve. But due to a mistake, rather than punishment, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, a school for the gifted and talented students. It is the perfect hide out, where no one would think to look for him, but he is completely out of his element, surrounded by peers who’s IQ are off the charts. He tries to fake his way to acceptance, but soon everyone is on to him. Donovan is not gifted at all, he’s normal. But despite his rather normal IQ, Donovan offers the students at the Academy of Scholastic Distinction something they can’t learn at school, and exactly what they need. Written in short chapters, each from the view of several different characters, Korman creates a great storyline decorated with unique characters. Ungifted is as much about growing up and trying to fit in as it is about friendship in the most unlikely circumstances. As the author of over 70 novels, Korman does not disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is creative and good. I highly reccomend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldnt put down. There should be a sequel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought that it was a great book and was written by a great author. My favorite part was when he first drove tin man. Overall I think it was a very good book that didn't have many bad parts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fun book and has a lot of emotion. It kept me guessing as to what would happen next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book grabbed my attention from the very beginning. It starts off by telling what a terrible disaster this kid did to the school, and accidentally got put in the gifted program (and went to a special school). He begins to bond with the geniuses, all the while hiding from the super-intendent of his old school who put his name on the wrong list. I reccomend this book to anyone in 4th through 8th grade that likes humor and suspense in books. The ending wasn't my favorite... but the rest of the book made me love it. ***Just to let everyone know, each chapter has another person telling the story--that confused me ***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think that this book is good but i know people say that you should never judge a book by its cover but it is a robot and then it says " Ungifted" and i just think that it will be a good book to read. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book i loved it! Everyone should read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really funny!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book went beyond my expectations! When I read a book that sounds and looks interesting, I get way too excited! If yout not sure with reading this book, I'm telling you to start reading NOW and don't STOP!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This 160 page book reminded me of the WHIMPY KID SERIES. It is for middle schoolers or tweens, which ever you prefer to call this age group. It is a stand alone book, very well edited, and a lot of fun to read. It cost $1.99, which is one and a third cents per page, so there is entertainment value. There is a lot going on in this book. There is the bad boy, class clown. The reader can watch him grow and evolve into a much more mature and caring individual as the book progresses. This book is poignant and laugh out loud funny at times. I felt so sorry for the patrents when they found out what they were so proud of was created by an accident of fate. Yet it made Donovan a better person. I loved Kate, what she dud for her brother was remarkable. Recommended for readers 10 years old to 14. I am a grand mother and I enjoyed it also. So it is also for those young at heart. AD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Square peg meet round holes and tries to fit in. Average kid forms alliances then friendhips with his genius betters. Who is the smart one? Excellent ending which follows a solid beginning and strong start. Well written and I highly recommend this book be placed in middle schools teacher libraries. It would make a gr.eat book for most character trait book months. Lots of social lessons.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
all of our family enjoys this book! it is rarely on the bookshelf.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Triple Awesome Book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Super Funny
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wonder if it is good it looks good and funny
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is the best. You will laugh and enjoy this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is truly a masterpiece, a true work of art in words. This is a beautiful story that i call inspiring. Just reading this book is qiute an expirence in itself!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was excellent! I wish it was longer... maybe even a second book in the future I hope? Though the book is about a middle school student it can be read by someone who is not. The humor is appropriate which I enjoyed a bunch. Believe it or not, but sometimes I caught myself using the dictionary for some of these HUGE words!! One again, this book was overall excellent and i hope there will be more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Your rating has consequences. When you only give a book one star, it makes it appear less-appealing to reaaders looking for a way to find out how well other readers have enjoyed the book. Your poor rating brings down the overall ranking of the piece. It may turn away people who might have really loved it. It is damaging! BTW, THIS IS A LIGHT , fun, funny book for kids of ALL ages. I definitely recommend it! KD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books ive ever read.you have to read it now.its worth the money.
Anonymous 3 months ago
I'm in battle of the books and I think this is a really goood book. I love the part where Dovan Curtis broke the robots arm and everybody was shocked because they thought he was a goody to shoes. I would rate this book 6 out of 10.
Anonymous 11 months ago