4.3 144
by Gordon Korman

View All Available Formats & Editions

The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like 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 by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic

See more details below


The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like 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 by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a special program for gifted and talented students.

It wasn't exactly what Donovan had intended, but there couldn't be a more perfect hideout for someone like him. That is, if he can manage to fool people whose IQs are above genius level. And that becomes harder and harder as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything). But after an ongoing experiment with a live human (sister), an unforgettably dramatic middle-school dance, and the most astonishing come-from-behind robot victory ever, Donovan shows that his gifts might be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

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.)
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.”
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)

Read More

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >