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 summary didn’t really stand out to me for this book. I thought it would be just another random contemporary book. To be honest, I was drawn back to this book because of the cover.
But the cover isn’t the only pretty cool thing about this book. It was 4.5 stars. I loved the growth that takes place in the story for all the characters, but especially Donovan and his older sister. The plot was well done and heart warming. I was really glad that I got into this book. There were a few dry spots, but it wasn’t that hard to get past those. This book is sweet and sincere while being goofy and funny, not mushy and overly done. Donovan seems like a real 8th grader, and even though he sees his new friends at the academy as big, hopeless nerds, but he really does care about them and makes a strong effort to protect them from the prejudice of his other friends.
I think a lot of people confuse their expectations/dreams of what middle schoolers and high schoolers should be like and what middle schoolers/high schoolers are really like are completely different, and that’s not just something that happens in books. It happens in real life, guys. Half the time your teachers are telling you that they understand that you’re middle schoolers/high schoolers and that we need time to have fun, the other half the time they’re yelling at you to sit down and be quiet. That they’re ‘disappointed’ that you can’t find a place to sit still and stay there for an hour without talking to your friends. Parents and teachers say they understand all the time, to all kids, but sometimes they don’t understand the magnitude of what they’re claiming. There are some people kids believe it from and some people that kids don’t.
Behind the wave of humor that Gordon Korman is known for, there were a nice story behind this and I felt like he did a pretty good job with it. There were some changes I didn’t like in the story line, but on a whole I think I would give the story/plot line itself 4 stars. There was a lot of insight into the social/academic world of today and who gains and loses in both worlds. This is a great, sweet story that’s a lot of fun!
pg count for the hardcover: 288