Reviews for Schooled
Booklist Reviews 2007 August #1
*Starred Review* Homeschooled on an isolated "alternate farm commune" that has dwindled since the 1960s to 2 members, 13-year-old Cap has always lived with his grandmother, Rain. When she is hospitalized, Cap is taken in by a social worker and sent--like a lamb to slaughter--to middle school. Smart and capable, innocent and inexperienced (he learned to drive on the farm, but he has never watched television), long-haired Cap soon becomes the butt of pranks. He reacts in unexpected ways and, in the end, elevates those around him to higher ground. From chapter to chapter, the first-person narrative shifts among certain characters: Cap, a social worker (who takes him into her home), her daughter (who resents his presence there), an A-list bully, a Z-list victim, a popular girl, the school principal, and a football player (who unintentionally decks Cap twice in one day). Korman capably manages the shifting points of view of characters who begin by scorning or resenting Cap and end up on his side. From the eye-catching jacket art to the scene in which Cap says good-bye to his 1,100 fellow students, individually and by name, this rewarding novel features an engaging main character and some memorable moments of comedy, tenderness, and reflection. Pair this with Jerry Spinelli's 2000 Stargirl (the sequel is reviewed in this issue) for a discussion of the stifling effects of conformity within school culture or just read it for the fun of it. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2007 July #2
Thirteen-year-old Capricorn "Cap" Anderson has only left the Garland Farm Commune (founded 1967) with his grandmother ("Rain") a few times for supplies. He doesn't know what TV is like, and he's never held money in his hand. When Rain falls from a plum tree and has to spend two months in the hospital, Cap gets his first real taste of the confusing, "real" world of 2007. Fortunately, his caseworker Mrs. Donnelly spent a few of her childhood years at Garland, and she knows what he's in for. Unfortunately, there's this tradition at Claverage (C-average) Middle School in which the eighth-grade class elects the strangest kid and biggest nerd to be Class President. They don't come any stranger than Cap, and Zach Powers and his clique do their level best to make Cap's life hell. Claverage gets a taste of peace, love and understanding it won't soon forget. Korman's novel narrated by the good, the bad and the only slightly involved is his usual smart, funny, slightly skewed realism. Tweens will definitely identify and could view their grandparents in a whole new light. (Fiction. 9-14) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection - November/December 2007
Being captain of the football and soccer teams means that Zach is "the man" in eighth grade, and he is more than ready for it. Home-schooled Capricorn is about to experience school for the first time. Knowing no better, Cap finds himself in the undesired position of class president and seriously tries to fulfill his duties. The tables begin to turn as students become drawn to the moralistic Cap and away from the vindictive Zach. This book is an outstanding look at life in middle school, written from multiple points of view that are superbly interwoven to move the action forward. All aspects of school culture are clearly addressed through the characters' voices, each of whom shows his unique personality and sense of belonging within the school dynamic. Extremely well written and easy to follow, this title subtly highlights the growth of teens in school from their individualism to their sense of empowerment and the influence they have as agents of change. Author Gordon Korman's latest novel will appeal to all readers due to the multiple character viewpoints. The constant action and familiar setting will certainly attract reluctant readers. Highly Recommended. Dylan Thomarie, Library Media Specialist, Johnstown (New York) High School © 2007 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
School Library Journal Reviews 2007 August
Gr 6-9-- Capricorn, 13, lives with his hippie grandmother on a farm commune. He's never been to school, never watched TV, and doesn't even own a phone. When Rain falls out of a tree while picking plums and is sent to rehab for several weeks, Cap stays with a social worker and is sent to the local junior high school. There he is introduced to iPods, cell phones, spit balls, and harassment. Cap, with his long frizzy hair, hemp shoes, and serene ignorance of everything most of the kids care about, is the dweebiest of the dweebs, and it's the custom at this school to elect such a kid to be eighth-grade class president (which offers extra humiliation opportunities). The story is told from multiple points of view, adding depth to even the most unsympathetic characters. Korman's humor is a mix of edgy and silly, the plot moves along at a steady pace, and the accessible and smooth writing style brings all the elements together to make a satisfying whole. The plot is not long on plausibility, but maybe that's not important in this case. Will Cap's ingrained peacefulness and sense of self win out in the end? Will it matter that he's entrusted with writing checks to help pay for the eighth-grade dance, even though he's not clear on the concept of what a check is? Readers will stay tuned to the last page, and Korman's many fans won't be disappointed.--Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL [Page 118]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2007 October
Capricorn Anderson is different from other thirteen-year-olds. He has never watched television, never heard of a Starbucks, and never attended a public school, but he knows how to drive a car. Cap and his hippie grandmother Rain's lifestyle is reminiscent of a 1960s farm commune. Rain is Cap's only family, friend, and teacher until a tragic accident lands Rain in the hospital, forcing Cap to live with strangers. Before Cap can blink, he is enrolled at Claverage Middle School with students who make him a target for their ridicule. Cap's strange appearance and naïve ways encourage students to nominate him for class president, which at this school is not an honor or sign of popularity but instead an age-old joke. The in crowd sets out to ensure that Cap fails at every endeavor, especially the Halloween dance, but the joke is on them. Students stop laughing at him and begin revering Cap because of his pure heart and immeasurable patience. Before long, the roles are reversed, but Cap is no longer there to witness the change in his peers.Korman creates an intricate novel in which goodness and strength of character prevail over the shortsightedness of others. Readers are reminded that the underdog can win without conforming to the constraints of society. Through chapters that alternate characters' points of view, readers gain insight into the turmoil that each person is experiencing as Cap influences their lives. Teens will relate to these characters whether it is the jock, the nerd, or the outcast.-Laura Panter 4Q 4P M Copyright 2007 Voya Reviews.