Books by Gordon Korman

NOTORIOUS by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Dec. 12, 2019

"Chalk up another treat for Korman fans. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Barney was legendary for appalling acts of canine depravity until his recent death; two kids—Zarabeth, his (one) mourner, and Keenan, her at-first-skeptical new friend—investigate his possible murder. Read full book review >
LEVEL 13 by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 25, 2019

"Fans of Korman's school stories and caper novels may find this fluff just fun enough. (Fiction. 7-11)"
Can Cam hit 50,000 subscribers on his game stream? Not with distractions like schoolwork. Read full book review >
THE UNTEACHABLES by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 8, 2019

"Funny and endearing, though incomplete characterizations provoke questions. (Fiction. 8-12)"
An isolated class of misfits and a teacher on the edge of retirement are paired together for a year of (supposed) failure. Read full book review >
SUPERGIFTED by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 3, 2018

"Another chortleworthy outing from Korman. (Fiction. 10-14)"
In the sequel to Ungifted (2012), Noah Youkilis gets himself kicked out of the Academy for Scholastic Distinction to see what it's like at regular middle school. Read full book review >
RESTART by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: May 30, 2017

"Korman's trademark humor makes this an appealing read. (Fiction. 9-14)"
Will a bully always be a bully? Read full book review >
PAYBACK by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 7, 2017

"Action-packed, high-speed fun. (Adventure. 8-12)"
In this trilogy closer, the four escaped clones from Project Osiris are still on the run, trying to avoid capture, discover the truth behind their criminal origins, and rescue the rest of the clones from the clutches of the evil Dr. Hammerstrom. Read full book review >
JINGLE by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 27, 2016

"Good fun. (Mystery. 8-12)"
It's Christmas! Santa, elves, snow, presents…and grand theft! Read full book review >
SLACKER by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 26, 2016

"Korman's fans will be right at home with this stand-alone novel. (Fiction. 9-12)"
What could get the "Leonardo da Vinci of slackers" off his gaming couch? Read full book review >
CRIMINAL DESTINY by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 2, 2016

"Oddly paced with little payoff, this sequel falls victim to middle-volume slump. (Adventure. 8-12)"
After discovering that their home of Serenity, New Mexico, is really a giant science experiment to test the effects of nurturing on clones of master criminals (Masterminds, 2015), four teens escape and head out into the world in search of revenge and freedom.Read full book review >
MASTERMINDS by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 3, 2015

"A fresh premise, good pacing, surprising twists and engaging characters all combine to make this a series worth following. (Adventure. 8-12)"
With no unemployment, no homelessness and no crime, Serenity, New Mexico, is the perfect town. Or is it? Read full book review >
MEMORY MAZE by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 29, 2014

"Not Korman's best but good for a summer read. (Suspense fantasy. 9-12)"
A new identity can't keep Jackson Opus and his parents out of harm's way. Read full book review >
THE HYPNOTISTS by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2013

"There's action aplenty, and belly laughs too—though the implication that benders have played significant roles in history and are among us now may leave readers feeling queasy. (Suspense fantasy. 10-13)"
An unsettling premise and wildly escalating threats jump-start Korman's newest series. Read full book review >
HIDEOUT by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 1, 2013

"Easy, slick and silly; it's Saturday-morning-cartoon hijinks between the covers of a book. (Fiction. 9-12)"
Hiding out's easy; forcing 150 pounds of former guard dog to hide out—not so much. Read full book review >
UNGIFTED by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 21, 2012

"Frequent allusions to The Wizard of Oz—with Tin Man the robot, Oz the teacher and themes of brains, heart and courage—add to the charm of this tale of a boy finding his home. (Fiction. 10-14)"
The last thing troublemaker and mediocre student Donovan Curtis ever expected was a transfer from Hardcastle Middle School to the prestigious Academy for Scholastic Distinction. Read full book review >
SHOWOFF by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 1, 2012

"A bumpy, plot-driven ride that moves along at a brisk pace, enthusiastically catapulting toward a potentially disastrous and hilarious conclusion. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Intrepid man-with-a-plan Griffin is up to his old tricks in his fourth outing, accompanied by a cast of patient middle-school best friends, all on a mission to save an overly energetic dog. Read full book review >
FRAMED by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

"The Man With The Plan," Griffin Bing, and his 12-year-old fix-it clique have graduated to Cedarville Middle School, and the new principal is a total nightmare. A former high-school football coach, Dr. Egan (aka Dr. Evil) makes the whole school exercise instead of having homeroom, and he warns Griffin he's fully aware of the boy's nearly illegal activities past. When Griffin's errant retainer is discovered in a locked display case in place of the Super Bowl ring of a former student, Griffin is sent to JFK (jail for kids) Alternative Education Center while the case works its way through courts. Griffin and his friends know he's innocent—but unfortunately the man with the plan's plans have the usual result: Everyone gets in more trouble. Griffin's suddenly under house arrest, and the other kids have to use their specialized skills to find the real thief before he's sent further up the river. Korman's third caper starring Griffin & Co. features some conclusion-jumping that would do Inspector Clouseau proud as well as plenty of improbable adult reactions…but it's just as goofball-funny and addictive as the previous two (Zoobreak, 2009, etc.). (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
ZOOBREAK by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

Griffin Bing, "The Man With The Plan," and his full complement of co-conspirators from Swindle (2008) are back. Animal whisperer Savannah's Capuchin monkey Cleopatra turns up missing, and a suspicious banana leads Savannah to the conclusion that Cleo's been monkey-napped. They find her in a run-down floating zoo, but adults and authorities are no help in getting the monkey back. Griffin already has worries enough, since his best bud, the narcoleptic Ben, is about to be shipped off to a special school for those with sleep disorders. Even so, everyone agrees to a plan to spring Cleo—but they end up having to spring the whole zoo. The plan to hide 40 animals from parents and police and Mr. Nastase, the awful zookeeper, only works for so long, prompting Griffin to move on to plan three…. Possibly more improbable and even sillier than the first, Korman's second tale of 11-year-old Mr. Fix-it Griffin and his friends is a page-turning adventure that reads like a Disney movie waiting to be made. The author's fans will be more than pleased, and those unfamiliar with the first will likely look it up. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
POP by Gordon Korman
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

Football will be the way Marcus Jordan makes the transition to his new school, so he practices in the park, preparing for tryouts. There he meets the enigmatic Charlie, a middle-aged man who knows much about football and conveys what Marcus has been missing in his game: fearlessness. "I love the pop! Sometimes you actually hear it go pop!" As bad luck would have it, Charlie is the father of Troy, star of the team, who takes an instant dislike to Marcus. Soon it is clear that Charlie is not eccentric but suffering from early-onset Alzheimer's caused by all the hits he took as a player in the NFL, a fact his family works hard to conceal. Marcus's involvement with Charlie exposes the secret and reveals the family tensions it has created. This carefully structured story, despite the difficult issue at its core, engages readers primarily with complex characters (including secondary ones) and well-drawn relationships. The football scenes are riveting, but the poignant human drama more than holds its own. Banking his usual over-the-top humor, Korman goes straight to the heart. (Fiction. 12 & up)Read full book review >
THE JUVIE THREE by Gordon Korman
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 2, 2008

Three young miscreants are offered a shot at redemption in this unlikely but likable comedy of errors. Gecko, Arjay and Terence are all in stir until the compassionate Douglas Healy selects them to live with him in a New York group home. Gecko, jailed for helping his brother steal a car, and gifted musician Arjay are incredibly grateful for the opportunity and vow to make it work. Terence, however, is arrogant, hotheaded and careless; in an attempt to sneak out one night, he causes an accident that knocks Healy unconscious and results in his amnesia. Desperate to avoid being returned to juvie, the three hatch a scheme to cover for Healy, hoping that he will regain his memory in time to save them. The well-developed and distinct personalities of the three boys provide ample ground for Korman to build their frustrations with one another as the fantastical plot moves forward. While perhaps a bit predictable, the emotional growth of each boy is nicely constructed and believable, and the dialogue is spot-on. (Fiction. 12 & up)Read full book review >
SWINDLE by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2008

Eleven-year-old Griffin Bing is "the man with the plan." If something needs doing, Griffin carefully plans a fix and his best friend Ben usually gets roped in as assistant. When the town council ignores his plan for a skate park on the grounds of the soon-to-be demolished Rockford House, Griffin plans a camp-out in the house. While there, he discovers a rare Babe Ruth baseball card. His family's money worries are suddenly a thing of the past, until unscrupulous collectables dealer S. Wendell Palomino swindles him. Griffin and Ben plan to snatch the card back with a little help. Pet-lover Savannah whispers the blood-thirsty Doberman. Rock-climber "Pitch" takes care of scaling the house. Budding-actor Logan distracts the nosy neighbor. Computer-expert Melissa hacks Palomino's e-mail and the house alarm. Little goes according to plan, but everything turns out all right in this improbable but fun romp by the prolific and always entertaining Korman. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >
SCHOOLED by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

Thirteen-year-old Capricorn "Cap" Anderson has only left the Garland Farm Commune (founded 1967) with his grandmother ("Rain") a few times for supplies. He doesn't know what TV is like, and he's never held money in his hand. When Rain falls from a plum tree and has to spend two months in the hospital, Cap gets his first real taste of the confusing, "real" world of 2007. Fortunately, his caseworker Mrs. Donnelly spent a few of her childhood years at Garland, and she knows what he's in for. Unfortunately, there's this tradition at Claverage (C-average) Middle School in which the eighth-grade class elects the strangest kid and biggest nerd to be Class President. They don't come any stranger than Cap, and Zach Powers and his clique do their level best to make Cap's life hell. Claverage gets a taste of peace, love and understanding it won't soon forget. Korman's novel narrated by the good, the bad and the only slightly involved is his usual smart, funny, slightly skewed realism. Tweens will definitely identify and could view their grandparents in a whole new light. (Fiction. 9-14)Read full book review >
BORN TO ROCK! by Gordon Korman
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: April 1, 2006

Korman is a good date: Laugh-out-loud funny, honest, hot and sweet, he knows how to start a story with lines about Republicans and body-cavity searches in the first few pages. Leo, our hero, is a senior with a scholarship to Harvard, a tangential relationship to the Young Republicans, good, loving parents and Goth-goddess Melinda, whom he's known all his life. But shortly readers—and Leo—discover that a good deed gets him accused of cheating, loses him his scholarship and reveals to him his hitherto unknown parentage. One night's backstage indiscretion by his mom meant that Leo's biological father is none other than King Maggot, lead screamer of Purge, the band that practically founded punk, and Melinda's hero. Leo spends the summer after senior year as a roadie for Purge's reunion tour, with its standard excesses and odd charms chronicled in Leo's self-aware, slightly dorky voice. This has virtually the same plotline as Liza Conrad's "chicklet-lit" Rock My World (2005), and the two would make a great couple. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
SON OF THE MOB: HOLLYWOOD HUSTLE by Gordon Korman
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2004

Fast and funny with a hefty helping of heart, Korman's cleverly conceived and plotted followup to Son of the Mob (2002) will keep fans in stitches as hero Vince Luca, the son of a Long Island-based mafia boss, again tries unsuccessfully to extricate himself from "The Life." Determined to leave all things mob behind him, Vince crosses the continent to study film in California but soon finds himself up to his camera lens in dirty doings. Worse, the love of his life, who also happens to be the daughter of the FBI agent investigating his father, is starring in a pretentious classmate's film project and no longer has time for him. Although the focus is on funny, to his credit Korman doesn't ignore the harsher realities of the underworld nor the uneasy alliance between powerful fathers and their struggling-to-define-themselves sons. Even within the comic hyperbolic context, there are some credibility problems, but it's a minor quibble in a performance that's sure to leave fans begging for more. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 1, 2003

A lighter-than-air tale features Max Carmody, a sixth-grader with a mania (if not, from the evidence at each chapter's head, a talent) for standup, whose attempt to compete in a national comedy contest hits all sorts of snags. Korman surrounds his Seinfeld wannabe with semi-dysfunctional friends, and propels him through a series of efforts, first, to record a demo CD, then to find a live audience on which to practice his routine, and finally to make the audition despite parental resistance, bad weather, wrong turns and mechanical breakdown. After all that, he arrives too late to show his stuff—but his CD, recorded with a canned laugh track that turns out to be a tape of a cow giving birth, makes even the national news and earns him a triumphal gig at a local comedy club. Max's lame or fragmentary jokes won't come close to bringing the house down, but some of the more farcical set pieces here might, and the author artfully injects family and friendship issues that bulk the tale up without weighing it down. A rib-tickling followup performance to Sachar's Dogs Don't Tell Jokes (1991) or Levy's My Life as a Fifth Grade Comedian (1997). (Fiction. 10-12)Read full book review >
SON OF THE MOB by Gordon Korman
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

As if life as a high-school senior isn't hard enough, what with sports, SATs, college applications, and girls (or rather, the lack thereof), Vince Luca has to cope with the special complications of his father's involvement in the vending-machine business—the family euphemism for organized crime. Case in point: Vince gets a date with the oh-so-hot Angela O'Bannon, but when he goes to get a make-out blanket from the trunk, he discovers the unconscious body of Jimmy the Rat, who's just been worked over by his older brother. Poor Vince: his family just keeps getting in his way. After the debacle with Angela, Vince begins a real romance with the cute and spunky daughter of the FBI agent who has been assigned to bring the Lucas down; the bugs he has planted in the house force all vending-machine business—and heart-to-heart parent-son conversations—into the basement. Korman (No More Dead Dogs, 2000, etc.) can reliably be counted on to deliver a hilarious story; he delivers in spades here, as Vince desperately tries to hold out as the only legitimate member of the family while at the same time inadvertently getting himself deeper and deeper in the family business when he tries to get Jimmy the Rat off the hook. Maintaining the balance between situational humor and the real violence and ugliness of organized crime is no easy matter, but Korman pulls it off in fine manner, managing to create genuinely sympathetic characters in Vince's family—people who love him and want the best for him, but who can at the same time call out a hit on someone as casually as ordering a pizza. Laced with running gags—the hijacking of Vince's class-project Web site by his brother is priceless—here's a laugh-out-loud addition to the ranks of dreary teen fiction. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE by Gordon Korman
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 1997

Zoe, worried that she is not special, has the bad habit of making up outrageous stories and trying to pass them off as the truth in order to make herself appear more interesting. Her constant lying has made her classmates, teacher, and parents suspicious of anything she says. Even when Zoe tells the truth, no one believes her except her devoted younger brother, Joey, and her kind friend, Michael, and even they are getting fed up. The didactic intent is hammered home with such force by Korman (Why Did the Underwear Cross the Road, 1994, etc.) that even readers who aren't paying attention will know they are being lectured. The messages—lying is bad, imagination is good, everyone is special—are both cloying and obvious. In her odd and childlike black-and-white illustrations, Adinolfi is behind the most imaginative aspects of the book; Korman displays little affection for his main character and even less for the readers for whom this story is intended. (Fiction. 7-9) Read full book review >
WHY DID THE UNDERWEAR CROSS THE ROAD? by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 1994

Justin Zeckendorf, Margaret Zachary, and Jessica Zander are the Zs. Because they're the last three names on the fourth-grade roster, they are always chosen to be a team on class projects. The Good Deed Contest is no exception, and Justin is not looking forward to working with the two know- it-alls, Margaret and Jessica. But when he hears that first prize will be a trip to Tidal Wave Water Park, he becomes more enthusiastic. Justin is the Idea Man, and he thinks of unusual ways to get good-deed points fast, but unfortunately his ideas are generally unsuccessful: He sells photocopies of raffle tickets and nearly causes a riot when 61 people all have the same winning number; he tries to wash his neighbors' window, but doesn't close it first and soaks their living room; he helps a woman across the street, although she had been standing on the side she wanted to be on to begin with. The Zs end up losing points rather than gaining them, and before they know it they're in the hole at -30 points. Justin thinks that if he can find the car thief that's been plaguing the neighborhood his team will win, but first he and his mother work out a way for him to slowly work the Z team back toward positive numbers. Korman's (The Toilet Paper Tigers, 1993, etc.) tale is cringe-inducing in the finest comic manner, and the super pacing of this book will keep readers engaged through the final surprise scenes. (Fiction. 7-9) Read full book review >
THE TOILET PAPER TIGERS by Gordon Korman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 1993

A Spoonerville, Texas, Little League team, sponsored by the local toilet-tissue company, opens the season with a collection of misfits coached by a nuclear physicist—completely ignorant of baseball—and his hotshot niece Kristy, visiting from New York because ``The parental units are doing the Europe thing this summer, so I'm chilling out down here with my main man....'' Kristy goes quickly to work, pushing the team into line with sharp talk (``Tsupwitchoor bat, bro'? Does it have bad breath, so all the baseballs won't go near it?''), simple psychology, and the threat of a certain locker-room photo (``What a day to wear my bunny rabbit underwear!'' moans one player). After a series of hilarious misadventures, the Feather-Soft Tigers finish, naturally, on top. Once again, Korman whips up a broad-humored farce, driven by a colorful cast and salted with satire—more-or-less gentle fun with plenty of unconventional (to say the least) baseball action. (Fiction. 11-13) Read full book review >
THE TWINKIE SQUAD by Gordon Korman
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1992

In his looniest farce yet, Korman inflicts two sixth-grade misfits on unsuspecting Thaddeus G. Little Middle School: Douglas Fairchild, son of a stupendously famous US Ambassador-at-Large; and Armando ``Commando'' Rivera, whose spiked hair, snake earring, and penchant for quixotic fistfights conceal an impressive grasp of foreign affairs. After the principal hastily assigns both to an after-school counseling group popularly known as ``The Twinkie Squad,'' Douglas proclaims his fellow space cadets Grand Knights of the Exalted Karpoosi—a meaningless honor until his planned garlic-squid-with-mango-and-banana banquet is accidentally sealed into a classroom ceiling and the subsequent chain of events convinces the student body that the Grand Knights are a secret club devoted to practical jokes. The story careens on past Commando's dinner discussion of Scandinavian trade policy with the President and Douglas's literally explosive portrayal of George Washington in a school play to a conclusion in which everyone—even the principal—learns something about maturity and tolerance. A wild ride, but the characters are set down gently at the end, leaving readers somewhat wiser—and breathless with laughter. (Fiction. 11+) Read full book review >