Ungifted

Common Sense Media says

Wacky mayhem fills tale of troublemaker in genius academy.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids will learn about brain-freezing, advanced math, and robotics. Ungifted also does a great job of illustrating the difference between academic brilliance and ingenious creativity and how both have their strengths and limitations.

Positive messages

While quite a few of Donovan's adventures are of the sort that earned him the nickname "Don't Try This at Home," the messages of collaborative cleverness, teamwork, and the value of people having different interests and skill sets are strong.

Positive role models

Donovan has a penchant for comical mayhem but is also responsible enough to feel bad about the impact that his misdeeds have on his family and to want to do better. He uses his creative problem-solving to help the gifted kids and his family. The gifted school students offer a believable mix of positive qualities and extreme cluelessness. Robotics lab teacher Mr. Oz is a good teacher and supportive of the kids; Dylan's family members love him and help keep him from serious trouble.

Violence

Donovan whacks a bronze statue with a board. There's chaotic mortal combat between robots. Donovan's brother-in-law is deployed in Afghanistan, and his sister worries about him.

Sex

The academy students have a required Sex Ed course; Donovan persuades his pregnant sister to become the subject of a class.

Language

Minor crude language, e.g. "butt" and "pee," the latter in the context of pregnant women and dogs.

Consumerism

Donovan refers to his distant ancestors and his fascination with Ancestry.com, and YouTube figures prominently in the tale.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Ungifted is another page-turning middle-school comic adventure from prolific, kid-pleasing author Gordon Korman (The 39 Clues, Pop). Class prankster Donovan Curtis is definitely "ungifted," at least compared with his high-IQ classmates at the academy for gifted children, where he's sent by mistake. But as it turns out, in a wacky tale incorporating Afghanistan, pregnancy (of Donovan's sister, whose husband is deployed), robotics, bronze statuary, a cranky Chow Chow, and much more, he and the geniuses have a few things to teach one another. Expect a little crude language, robot combat, and plenty of comic mayhem.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Middle-school troublemaker Donovan Curtis figures he's doomed when one of his pranks goes spectacularly bad. But instead, there's an administrative mix-up, and he's sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction, the district's school for the gifted. Donovan knows quite well he's \"ungifted,\" but genius school is a good place to hide from the superintendent's wrath. Told from the perspectives of various characters, a tale emerges of how Donovan, the brainiacs, and Donovan's delinquent pals ensure that things are never the same at the academy again. In a good way.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

UNGIFTED once again shows The 39 Clues series author Gordon Korman's light touch and fine sense of the absurd. The varied characters and their perspectives on events in this page-turning wacky tale will resonate with kids and adults; the issues they confront -- from prankster mayhem to cheating on tests to just exactly what constitutes "gifted," anyway -- move the story along and offer interesting things to consider after it's over.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the various kids' feelings about being in a school for gifted students. Why does Noah the genius hate it so much, while other kids are right at home?

  • Why do you think books about middle school are so popular? 

  • What does Donovan learn from the kids at the academy? What do they learn from him?

Book details

Author:Gordon Korman
Genre:Friendship
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Robots
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Balzer + Bray
Publication date:August 21, 2012
Number of pages:288
Publisher's recommended age(s):10 - 17
Available on:Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of Ungifted was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 September 3, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

ungifted

Families can talk about the various kids' feelings about being in a school for gifted students. Why does Noah the genius hate it so much, while other kids are right at home? Why do you think books about middle school are so popular? What does Donovan learn from the kids at the academy? What do they learn from him?
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Kid, 12 years old February 24, 2013
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

probably a book that describes me in 2nd grade ( not really, sort off )

I loved the book "Ungifted". My favorite part of the book was during the robotics competition. i won't give the ending away, but i will tell u that it is a motivating story and one that i think that kids that are bellow your average joe or a know-it-all. Other reviews may say it is inappropriate because it includes human growth and development with a live example, or what she likes to call herself a "lab rat". over all, once again, a very good book. P.S. all trouble makers who think they're "Bad to the Bone" should compare their lives to Donovan's, the main character
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 11 years old July 4, 2013
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Awesome, but tricky

i love this book. at one point they do talk about sx ed, now human growth and development. there is a dance, and someone wrestles at the dance by jumping off the deejay booth. it took me a minute to understand some parts, and i am in the top 5% on my IQ test.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide