What are the consequences when the biggest troublemaker at Hardcastle Middle School destroys the school gym during the biggest basketball game of the season? He ends up at the local gifted and talented school. This “error” sparks many different conflicts.
Thirteen year-old Donovan is a troublemaker: He never follows the instructions, concentrating only on the tasks he thinks is fun. One day, when he decides to whack the butt of the Atlas statue at the top of the school hill, the globe detaches and crashed right into the school gym. Of course, the school superintendent decides to expel him. And Donovan knew it was the right thing to do, even though he couldn’t seem to control himself: “He was probably right. They were all right. But when the thing is right in front of me… I don’t think; I do” (2 Korman). This shows Donovan’s internal conflict with himself. He lacks self-control.
But, right before his expulsion, there was a massive turning point in the plot. He was so lucky that the secretary’s negligence saved him, as she accidentally messed up his paperwork and put his profile with other identified geniuses. Now, the genius academy thought he was gifted as well, so they enrolled him. He exhaled his breath because he escaped from trouble but he knows better than anyone else that he doesn’t belongs in there. Only Donovan, his best friends (the Daniels), and readers know the full truth. This sets up conflict with others and a continued tension with himself. Should he be honest?
Conflicts within the school and with others begin to arise: “He wants me to admit that I got 4 out of 35 on purpose… But why would you? It just didn’t matter.” (102) The life in academy was good physically but tiring mentally as he continued to try and hide the truth from his new friends and his family. This part is the rising action of the book as things continue to build tension as he becomes a humorous part of the robotics team and the lives of these young Einsteins.
At first, he doesn’t really have any friends in academy, but he helps the gifted kids feel more “normal”. Though he is a weird person with lower IQ than anyone else in school, it seems his helpfulness affects others, and they see him as their friend. In fact, they hacked into his laptop, finished a test he was going to fail, help him to stay in the gifted program or not for him when he was despair. ”That’s where it was going to happen… I wouldn’t be in the program much longer (if I failed the test).” (169-170) “Then the first question appeared on the screen… Who was doing this for me?” (171-174) Donovan knew that he had finally began to change and conflicts would decrease because his new friendships were deeper and real.
Readers will see he deserves the title of “genius” for his own unique reasons.