Ungifted by Gordon Korman, about a school trouble maker named Donovan Curtis, is a great book for middle schoolers. Donavon, through an administrative error by the School Superintendent, is sent to a Gifted and Talented School rather than being suspended and, looking for a way out of his latest trouble (destroying the school gym) goes along with the transfer.
At his new Gifted School, Donovan is obviously anything but gifted at Math, English or Science. But Donovan works hard to conceal the mistake and continues hiding out among the brilliant students. He knows if he is found, he will be in some deep trouble and his parents will have a huge bill to pay for his prank.
Before Donovan knows it, he finds himself pretty comfortable at the Gifted School, enjoying the nice facility, Robotics Class, and his peers, and somehow starts to bring a humanism to his surroundings that the school desperately needs. Naming the class Robot, being the cause of a school dance and saving his friends and himself from Summer School, quickly makes Donovan a favorite with ALMOST everyone at the new school. His character begins to soften at the Gifted School and he becomes a better version of himself. When the Gifted School's Administration begins to question Donovan's placement in the school and asks Donovan to retake the entrance exam, his classmates are even willing to cheat to keep Donovan in their class.
But will Donovan get away with his scheme? Will the Superintendent find Donovan and what will be his punishment if he is caught?
Korman does a great job helping students feel connected to the characters and interesting plot. Each chapter is written by a different character telling their view of the story. Middle Schoolers will love this book and will no doubt sympathize with Donovan.
The only critique I would have of Korman's book Ungifted is that it does encourage the stereotyping of gifted students. I would want to talk to my students about how everyone is different and that just because a person is gifted, does not mean that they fit the stereotypes in this book.
You can find Ungifted by Gordon Korman here.