by Gordon Korman
Accelerated Reader: Level: 4.9. Pts. 6.
Number of Multiple Choice Questions on Quiz: 20.
Take the 20-Question Whole Book Quiz!
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 sentólike a lamb to slaughteróto 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 Stargirl for a discussion of the stifling effects of
conformity within school culture or just read it for the fun of it.