Cap Anderson (short for Capricorn) was raised by his grandmother Rain at Garland, a formerly active commune now occupied by exactly two people. Rain is Cap’s entire world. So when she breaks her leg and has to recuperate in a rehab facility for a few weeks, Cap is stunned to learn that he has to go stay with a social worker (who just happened to grow up at Garland herself) and attend real school.
As you might imagine, a large public 8th grade doesn’t go so well for a kid who’s never had a haircut or watched TV. It’s tradition for the biggest dork in school to get elected class president, so they can be tormented for the entire year. This year, the honor is Cap’s. But things don’t go quite as the bullies planned…
I was a tremendous Gordon Korman fan as a kid. I Want to Go Home!, Son of Interflux… I read these books over and over and laughed my ass off every time. (Tragically they both appear to be out of print.) Schooled has some of the same brand of elaborately planned wacky hijinks, but the humor doesn’t quite bring it. I didn’t laugh out loud once (well, maybe the occasional snicker). The story is told by a mix of different characters, which was necessary because none of the personalities were strong enough to carry the book. The idea of winning over middle school bullies through nonviolence is intriguing, but the plot arc was fairly predictable. Just meh all the way.
I still plan to read No More Dead Dogs, another recent Korman. Hopefully this was a fluke.
Also reviewed by: A Myriad of Books (whose guest reviewer loved it) and Stories. Read ‘Em. Write ‘Em (who also liked it). Maybe it’s just me, then. It probably wasn’t fair to read this expecting the Korman novels of my youth; I don’t think this was trying for the same level of hilarity.