Balzer + Bray
Published on August 21, 2012
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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.
The opening chapter of Ungifted was one of the funniest things I’ve read in a while. I was immediately drawn in to Donovan’s frank humor and way of viewing the world around him (despite its sometimes disastrous consequences!). I’m not a huge fan of adult point-of-view scenes in children’s literature. Ungifted contains a few of those, but not too many. I still kind of wish they’d been left out. I found the kids’ viewpoints much more interesting and entertaining.
I liked how each character had a distinct voice and a story which contributed to the overall whole. I thought the positive view of science was great and the parts about the robotics competition were super cool. The tone and quick pacing make this book a great choice for reluctant readers as well as those interested in science and robotics. Highly recommended.
Main characters appear to be white. I think some other races are represented in minor characters.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
One of the boys uses a wrestling move he learned on YouTube to attack a couple of bullies trying to break the gifted students’ robot.