by Gordon Korman
MG fiction. 208 pp.
Because today is Mormon Pride Day and because that means the gym is closed and I don't have to work, I stayed up late last night reading. Okay, so I regularly stay up late reading, but this time I didn't have to worry about how tired I would be the next day because I could just sleep in (and thoroughly upset Puppy). I came across Schooled on Friday at the Devil's Den when I got my bracelet without the number. I'm a fan of Korman's writing, especially Son of the Mob, which I will often carry around just so I can read the first chapter to people. I haven't been as captivated by the past few Korman books I've read, but I truly enjoyed this one.
Capricorn is being rasied by his grandmother, Rain, on the commune she founded forty years ago. They're the only two left there, and when Rain falls out of a tree and has to spend a couple months in therapy, Cap is forced into mainstream society and public education. At Claverage Middle School (which all the students call C Average), the eight graders have a tradition of electing the biggest loser of the class as class president so that they can spend the rest of the year tormenting him or her. Oh! what a gold mine is Cap when he shows up days before the election in his hippie garb and long, never-been-cut hair. Unfortunately, the other students' plans for torment are turned on their head by naive Cap as he slowly wins over all 1100 students in the school.
I love Cap. Love, love, love him. He is such a good person. True, much of how his goodness is exhibited is due to his lack of knowledge about worldliness, but it doesn't erase the good that's deep inside him. It's nice to come across a character that I unabashedly just like.
The book is told from the viewpoint of multiple characters, as different characters get different chapters to narrate the continuing drama. This actually works for me in this book because they're not in a particular rotation, and they easily manage the necessary skips over the mundane to keep focussed on the plot action.
In all, I like this book. I think it's a good one to read. It almost makes me consider the happiness that could come from becoming a hippie.