One day Donovan accidentally dislodges a giant bronze globe from a statue that destroys part of his school’s gym. The district superintendant catches Donovan and writes his name down for further discipline. In the process, Donovan’s name accidentally makes it onto a list of students to be transferred to the Academy for Scholastic Distinction.
Donovan has trouble fitting in at the Academy at first. Even the easiest coursework is too difficult for him, and he has trouble finding common ground with the other students. But when Donovan joins the school robotics team, things start to become better. He names their robot Tin Man, and Donovan quickly becomes Tin Man’s operator due to his years of experience with video games.
Donovan further cements his place in the Academy by helping his classmates out of a tough spot. Each student is required to take a human growth and development course, but there is not a qualified teacher at the school. When Donovan learns the course may be taught by someone with hands-on experience, he blackmails his pregnant older sister into helping.
But even that isn’t enough for Donovan. His grades are still poor, and the teachers at the Academy ask him to take a formal admittance test to prove he belongs.
Can Donovan pass the test? Will his team win the robotics competition?
Ungifted by Gordon Korman is shelved upstairs, in the juvenile fiction section of the Children’s Department.
Supergifted picks up the story a few months later.
Noah, the Academy’s star student, is transferred to Donovan’s original school. He’s an absolute genius, but has trouble related to students of more average intelligence. The problem is that Noah doesn’t realize this shortcoming and Donovan has to insert himself into dangerous situations to save Noah.
In one instance, Donovan saves Noah from Hashtag, the lacrosse team’s star player. In the process, his family’s dog bites Hashtag. The dog had bitten someone before, and a second complaint would mean the dog would have to be put down. So he’s told to stay far, far away from Hashtag.
Donovan’s plan to do that fails when he learns that Noah has decided to deal with Hashtag himself, WWE-style. Donovan runs to Hashtag’s neighbourhood to intercept Noah, who is dressed as a professional wrestler. While he tries to convince Noah to go home, the two boys notice an improperly parked propane truck on a hill. When the breaks come loose, Donovan runs to the truck, jumps in the window, and is barely able to turn the truck in time to keep it from destroying a house.
Donovan can’t allow anyone to know he was in Hashtag’s neighbourhood, so and he and Noah run from the scene. When people start talking about the superkid in town who saved a family by steering the runaway truck, Donovan tells Noah nobody can know he was involved. So Noah takes credit for the rescue to protect Donovan and becomes the town hero in the process.
Can Donovan and Noah keep their secret? How will Noah handle being a hero? Will Donovan’s true role as superkid ever be revealed?
Supergifted by Gordon Korman is also shelved upstairs, in the juvenile fiction section of the Children’s Department.
If you enjoy Ungifted and Supergifted, you may also enjoy Holes, by Louis Sachar. Stanley is arrested for an honest mistake and is sentenced to Camp Green Lake, a detention centre for boys. While there, he has one job: to dig holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. Holes is shelved in the juvenile paperback section of the Children’s Department.