Schooled by Gordon Korman

March 2, 2017
By , Norridge, IL

“Schooled” is a modern-day novel about a boy named Capricorn Anderson. This is a fictional, young adult novel that tells about a home-schooled boy going through changes in his life. He is being thrown into society and has to try to adapt very quickly. Gordon Korman had this novel published in 2010. Most of this story takes place either at Claverage Middle School, the hospital, or Mrs. Donnelly's house. There are also some parts at Garland Farm, a small community of only two people. Rain, Cap’s caregiver and grandmother, fell out of a tree there while picking fruit. This means Cap will have to go from a quiet society with one other loving person to a society full of completely different strangers.

Capricorn Anderson is the main character of this novel. He lives in a hippie commune called Garland. Once a thriving community, Garland has grown into its only two inhabitants being Capricorn and his long time caretaker, Rain. He is an eighth grader and is forced to attend Claverage Middle School. To the children of the middle school, he looks very weird. He has long, ungroomed, hair, homemade clothes, and looks nothing like anybody else. He is also very peaceful. Growing up as a hippie has taught him to see the good in everything. This also makes him naive. He believes everybody because he had never had anybody lie to him. His parents left when he was young, so the only person he’s ever had a strong bond with was Rain. Of course, he still learned all the school material he needed to. However, because of him never having any relationship with people his age, he doesn’t know how they act. This causes him a lot of trouble throughout the novel.

Rain, Capricorn’s grandmother, suffers a hospitalizing injury in the first few pages of the book. She is not Cap’s biological grandmother but has filled the role for such a long time that she acts and is treated like it. She is a very active old woman, always doing work around Garland. In fact, the injury she suffered happened as she was picking fruit in a tree. She homeschools Capricorn and alters most lessons so they fit in with their hippie lifestyle. Also, Mrs. Donnelly and Sophie are some minor characters. Capricorn stays with Mrs. Donnelly and Sophie while Rain is in the hospital. Mrs. Donnelly feels sorry for Capricorn and tries her best to deliver top-notch hospitality. While Sophie hates the idea of Cap being around. She constantly abuses him both with words and sometimes with force. But Cap always acts respectfully. Hugh and Zach, two popular kids in the school, think he is the perfect victim of many different pranks. They become even more and more confused and upset while Capricorn gains popularity.

In the beginning of the story, Korman introduces us to Rain and Capricorn. Soon, Rain becomes badly injured and has to be hospitalized. Capricorn has to be thrown into Claverage Middle School. This was a completely new thing for Cap. It was very strange for him. The students were nothing like Rain. This meant Cap did not understand most of the things they did or how they acted. In the first days of school, Capricorn was instantly branded as a loser. Zach, the most popular kid in school, picked Cap as the victim of a popular school prank. He would nominate Cap for the student body president, trying to torture Cap and drive him crazy with responsibility. Capricorn does not do this even though he does win president. He continues to gain popularity because of his respectful demeanor. Life at his new home was not very easy either. Mrs. Donnelly was a very kind woman. She understood the hard time that Cap was going through. However, Sophie, her daughter, was always abusive and rude to Cap. Eventually, though, through the middle and end of the story, Sophie grows to appreciate Cap. At the end of the story, Cap sees rain again. She is doing fantastic. She tells Cap that she sold Garland for 17 million dollars. Capricorn would continue to go to Claverage school, which, at first would have been torture, but given his current status at the school, may be one of the best things for him.

Overall I thought this was a very good book. It was incredibly appealing to me, as I am also a boy around Capricorn’s age. It is also very interesting to watch and see how little Cap understands about the things students do. Also, I have seen people that try to take advantage of these certain type of unknowledgeable new kids. It was great to see Zach and Hugh being shocked as their attempts to make Cap a complete loser at Claverage ended up making him the most popular and well-liked kid there. I do not believe many age groups would like this besides kids still in middle school. By the time they get to high school, kids may want to read something that helps them flashback to their 8th-grade year. However, those kids are so few and far between that this book is most likely going to be read by those between the 5th and 8th grades. Anything younger than that and a child will not understand many of the terms used and many of the actions that the characters perform. However, the older a student gets, the more they start looking forward to graduation. In turn, they will see a book about 8th grade and know that whatever happens that year will be overseen by a graduation anyways. In conclusion, in my opinion, this was a very well-written book for those who are in grade 5th through 8th.

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