Genre: YA/MG contemporary
Pages: 224 (hardcover)
Published: 2007 by Hyperion
Homeschooled by his hippie grandmother, Capricorn (Cap) Anderson has never watched television, tasted a pizza, or even heard of a wedgie. But when his grandmother lands in the hospital, Cap is forced to move in with a guidance counselor and attend the local middle school. While Cap knows a lot about tie-dyeing and Zen Buddhism, no education could prepare him for the politics of public school.
Schooled is a fast paced, realistic fiction story about a boy named Capricorn Anderson. Cap lives with his grandmother in a hippie community where he is home schooled, set apart completely from the world, named Garland Farm. Back in the day, Garland Farm was full of treehuggers and peacemakers. But in present day, the only citizens of the community are Cap and his grandmother. Not much of a community right? It seems to work pretty well for them. In the beginning of the story, Cap's grandmother, 'Rain', falls out of a plum tree. What was a seventy something year old doing in a plum tree you ask? Why picking plums of course! Since Cap is an avid driver, (at age 13) he drives Rain to the Emergency room, having no idea of what he would be exposed to in the next couple months-- the horrors of public middle school.
Everything is totally against what he has been taught at Garland. People are fighting over the most ludicrous things, getting shoved into lockers, and receiving something called a 'wedgie' that doesn't look very pleasant. Cap is always finding small wads of wet paper lodged in his enormous mound of dreads and everyone is always obsessing over something he has never even held in his hand-money. When living with a social worker and her outraged teen daughter, getting picked on by the whole school, and having your only friend be the biggest nerd in school isn't enough, try getting elected 8th grade president. Sounds like a good thing right? An honor? Yeeeeeah no. Truth is, there is a group of popular kids who run the whole school and everyone in it. During their 8th grade year, they control the whole place, and they make sure the biggest dweeb in town is elected president so they can all laugh at the poor sap as he screws up.
Schooled is hands down one of my favorite books of all time. The way Gordon Korman makes the characters come to life and gives you the sense that you are right there beside them the whole time is an excellent job on his part. The novel is from 6 different points of views, meaning each chapter a different person is telling their side of the story. I have found that this tends to keep things interesting, because some characters can get you frustrated, make you bored, infuriate you, and some will delight you and make you want to hear more from them. Cap's only friend when he first arrives is the biggest dunce you could imagine and a shoe-in for 8th grade president, a guy by the name of Hugh Winkleman. It doesn't matter how totally awesome you are, if you have a name like that, you were born to be a yo-yo. Everybody knows that Hugh Winkleman is the next 8th grade president, what with all the wedgies Zach Powers and his popular crowd have given him in the past 2 years. So when Cap comes along, in his corn husk sandals and tie dye tees, Hugh was overcome with joy. How Korman writes with such accuracy on how middle schoolers feel and think, is beyond me. It's like he is writing it first hand and can tell you exactly what every person's perspective is in full detail! Young or old, brainy or buffoon, I would recommend Schooled to anyone.
Keep it real,
Overall Rating: 5/5