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105 pages 3 hours read

Gordon Korman

Ungifted

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2012

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Character Analysis

Donovan Curtis

13-year-old Donovan, Ungifted’s main protagonist, is an average student who struggles to control the impulses that compel him to pull pranks. His mother calls him “reckless” (5). The school psychologist says he has “[p]oor impulse control” (5). His father worries, “You’re going to break your idiot neck one day, or someone’s going to break it for you” (5). Donovan acknowledges that all three are likely correct, but the knowledge does not help him control himself.

After one of his pranks results in significant damage to his school’s gym, Donovan escapes punishment due to a clerical error: his name ends up on a list of students for the gifted academy. At the academy, Donovan cannot keep up with the intellectual work but renders himself invaluable to his classmates through his social savvy and real-world problem-solving skills. His years of playing video games make him the best driver for the class robot and gives the robotics team an advantage for their upcoming competition. He offers his pregnant sister as the class case study after a clerical error leaves the students short of credits for a Human Growth and Development course requirement. After the robot’s motor is irreparably damaged, Donovan helps the class steal a new one from the custodians’ floor polisher.

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