The Book Bag (#1): Ungifted

Welcome to The Book Bag! Today, we’re reaching all the way to the bottom! Gordon Korman is a very distinguished author and has published over eighty books. You might recognize his work from theSwindle series, certain 39 Clues novels, Macdonald HallEverestDiveOn The RunKidnapped (Incidentally, that is a sequel to the On The Run series), Nose PickersIslands, and many more. Fun Fact: The first book in the Swindle series, Swindle, was turned into a Nickelodeon movie. My thoughts are…mixed. I will be reviewing one of his standalone books, Ungifted.

Ungifted is about a boy named Donovan who can best be described as a trickster. He is not very good at school, likes to play pranks, and appears to have poor impulse control. According to a paraphrased section, when he has an idea, he has to do it. After a very destructive accident, the superintendent mistakenly sends him to a special school for gifted students. Obviously, he isn’t gifted with the near-genius level intellects of the students who go there, hence the title, Ungifted. Once there, Donovan must hide out and not attract the attention of the superintendent. If he does get noticed, he’ll (rightfully) get in trouble for the trick.

First, the good parts. The characters are very interesting. I want to learn more about them, especially some of his new classmates. Secondly, I am engaged in the plot. Despite certain misgivings that will be described later, I really wanted to find out what was going to happen. I never wanted to stop reading the book.

Now for the bad parts. Donovan isn’t the nicest of protagonists. Some of his actions are downright mean and made me feel less sympathy for him. For example, he pretends to have A.D.D., dyslexia, and the like in order to get better grades. Speaking as someone who has A.D.D., I feel very offended by that. I know that he’s trying to stay in the school, but the reasoning behind that does not make it any better. Just take your punishment! Secondly, all of the students at the gifted school are described as being socially awkward. I don’t know if that would be true but it seems very stereotypical. As this may be either a nitpick or an error on my part, please feel free to correct me down below. Finally, the very nature of the main conflict is contrived. Many more coincidences or unrealistic actions happen constantly. Personally, it took me out of the universe. To name one, how could the teachers not realize that Dononvan isn’t actually gifted? Wouldn’t they have records of the supposed testing?

Despite my complaints, Ungifted is a fun book to read. I highly recommend it. Mr. Korman is a very popular author, so you will most likely be able to find a copy at your local library or bookstore. And remember, even if I dislike a certain book, you can still like it. I’ve disliked many books that are considered popular. I’m Zachary Krishef, and I hope that everyone has an excellent day.

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

Reviewed by Zachary Krishef

Visit me at! My reviews are also posted there!

Ask me questions on TV Tropes, my blog, or here! My troper handle is MiscellaneousSoup.

Next Time: Seeing as it just came out, I think my next subject will be The Fault In Our Stars. Let’s hear it for shamelessly trying to get reviews and comments!


One thought on “The Book Bag (#1): Ungifted

  1. Z., This is an excellent review! Very insightful analysis! You have a gift for this type of writing in particular!


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