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Reading Between Classes

A unique perspective on YA Literature from a junior high teacher. 

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Ungifted - Gordon Korman This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between ClassesCover Impressions: The cover is super cute. The colors are great and the image of the robot is fun. I can see where this would appeal to kids.The Gist: Donovan Curtis doesn't know why he does the things that he does. He just gets an itch and before he knows it, he is in a world of trouble. When his biggest mistake yet inadverntantly leads to a mix up that gets him labeled as "Gifted", Donovan is thrust into a world of the super-smart and the super-geeky. As he struggles to fly under the radar, he becomes more involved than he ever thought he would and starts to see the Academy Geeks in a whole new light.Review: Ungifted is a well-written middle grade novel. It is a fun, light story that is perfect for young readers and easy enough for reluctant readers. The plot progresses steadily and has some very light hearted moments. I enjoyed watching Donovan as realized that the gifted kids were fun and interesting and that they were his true friends. Some of his actions left Donnie a little unlikeable, but he did manage to grow by the end of the novel.The other characters are cute, if a little stereotypical. I enjoyed Noah the most and was amused by his constant yearning to be expelled from the Academy. Chloe was also a cute character, but I felt the romantic element a little unnecessary and distracting. I wasn't a big fan of the alternating narrative. Perhaps if it had been less random and had a little more development among fewer characters, I would have enjoyed it more. I also noticed an odd undercurrent of public school bashing. Admittedly, as a Canadian, I am not fluent in the issues plaguing the American school system, however, as a teacher, I felt a little insulted. We do the best we can with what we are given and I felt that the author wasn't giving that process credit.I can see this book appealing to boys (as most of Gordon Korman's books do) and being an enjoyable read for those reluctant readers.Teaching/Parental Notes:Age: 10 and upGender: BothSex: NoneViolence: BullyingInappropriate Language: NoneSubstance Use/Abuse: None