This is Gordon Korman's tenth book for children, which makes him, at the age of 22, a veteran writer. His first novel, This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall, earned him a reputation as a humorous writer with great juvenile appeal. Unfortunately, this time he tails far short of the mark he has established for himself. Paul Abrams has recently moved from a small town in Canada to New York City. He's now a student at Don Carey High, commonly known as Don't Care High because of the complete lack of enthusiasm exhibited by students and teachers alike. Baffled by the atmosphere there, Paul quickly makes friends with Sheldon Pryor, a fairly recent transplant to Don Carey, and apparently the only student with a shred of school spirit or interest left. In order to stir up some life, Paul and Sheldon nominate an oddly removed boy, Mike Otis, as student-body president, and manage, without Mike's ever lifting a finger, to turn him into a symbol that inspires more enthusiasm and spirit than the school has seen in decades. At the end of the story, when Mike's family moves away, the Don't Care students are a unified, spirited body, and Paul Abrams has adjusted nicely to life in the big city. The premise of the story is interesting and potentially gripping: that an empty idol could be powerful enough to transform radically an entire community of human beings. But this aspect falls by the wayside, replaced by arch, overly wordy prose and a story that is far too long in the telling. Most annoying, however, is that the humor takes the form of exaggeration which is so unbelievable as to be silly.