Saturday, May 4, 2013

Schooled by Gordon Korman

So imagine that you've lived your whole life on a commune called Garland Farms. It's just you and your grandmother, although there used to be other people there, too. Suddenly one day, your grandmother falls out of a tree while picking plums (don't ask). She breaks her hip, and after being released from the police for driving without a license (don't ask), you learn that not only will she have to have surgery, she'll need to go to rehab for at least six weeks. Which means you have to go live somewhere else. Because you're only a kid, too young to live alone.

Thus begins Schooled, the tale of Capricorn "Cap"Anderson. Lucky for Cap, the social worker assigned to his case is none other than Flora Donnelly, aka Floramundi - a former resident of Garland Farms herself. She knows exactly what Cap will be facing as a former hippie herself. The "outside" world will be a very harsh place for a peace-loving, vegetarian hippie such as Cap, who has been quite sheltered all his life.

Rather than place Cap with a foster family, Flora takes him home herself. Her daughter, Sophie, is horrified. As a high school student more worried about dating than grades, Sophie sees Cap as everything that's wrong with her mother - too much of a bleeding heart.

The kids at Claverage Middle School see him as a time-traveler, or possibly someone that has beamed in from outer space. No one wants to talk to him or be his friend, until a plan by uber-popular jock Zach backfires. Suddenly, everyone wants to help Cap, wants to be his friend, and wants nothing to do with Zach. It's a harsh lesson for the guy who was going to make eighth grade his year. When Zach finally teams up with the class loser that he'd originally intended to pick on, their plan has some disastrous results.

This was my second book from the middle school Battle of the Books list, and I would say I liked it better than Wonder. It's funny how many similarities there were though: both are about boys who are thrust into a mainstream school for the first time, both have been home-schooled up to that point, both have been protected by well-meaning yet short-sighted parents, and both have a distinctly different appearance from their fellow students.

I thought Schooled was a bit more realistic in some aspects, less so in others. But overall, I would definitely recommend this book to kids, maybe even some adults.


Mary said...

Hi, I loved All Dogs Go to Heaven. He wrote that too? Not positive. looked to follow you. Didn't see a link
Great review.

Traci (aka the Bookbabe) said...

Aww...thanks! I checked under Korman's available books on Amazon, and I don't see where he wrote ADGTH. He does have a title called "No More Dead Dogs" but I didn't read the blurb. Might be the right book.

As to following, I don't know how to do a link. What I do is go to my blog list and "add" - you can use the URL. Hope that helps!