Don't Care High

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Don’t Care High
Author Gordon Korman
Country Canada
Language English
Genre Young adult
Publisher Scholastic Canada Ltd.[1]
Publication date
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 243
ISBN 0-590-43129-3

Don’t Care High is a 1985 novel by Gordon Korman.


Paul Abrams has just moved to New York City with his parents. He starts at tenth grade in a new high school, Don Carey High School, which has earned the nickname "Don't Care High" for prevalent student apathy.

When he finds out that no one at his new school cares much about much of anything, he tries to shake things up by nominating Mike Otis, a reclusive man of mystery, for Student council president. Mike runs unopposed and is soon elected (first since 1956[2]) and soon forgotten. Sheldon then begins to care and starts to talk up Mike and attributes a wave of needed repairs to Mike. As the students begin to care, the teachers sense that something is going on.

They take it to the next level by publishing a short newsletter entitled The Otis Report, which criticizes school staff and praises Mike to the heavens. They distribute it on roller skates, wearing masks. As a result, Mike is dismissed as student body president. The pair react with a campaign to restore him and the students begin to care about something.

Mike's address in his permanent file is on the eleventh floor of a ten-story building. The pair track him and locate his real address. Eavesdropping, they discover that he is about to fail a course. They seize on the chance to increase student participation even more, as a large part of the student body now idolize him. They collaborate to produce a project for him. The project is of such quality that it is entered in a science fair. It is disqualified when the judges discover that the work is not his. The students react badly, resulting in the schools banning from the event. Next they turn to sports. An announcement that Mike likes basketball results in full-on participation in the game. They play an away game and win (63-62). This results in a joyous riot and much destruction.

Eventually, the staff gives in and confirms Mike as student body president. Paul and Sheldon are ecstatic at this news, feeling that the sky is now the limit. However, Mike soon announces that he is leaving. The students are surprised, but plan a party to "send Mike off in the style he deserves."

Cast of characters[edit]



  • Paul Abrams (16)- new student, recent immigrant from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
  • Sheldon Pryor - Paul's best friend that is always with him and does everything he does and plans. Keeps dragging Paul to restaurants that serve food he cannot stand.
  • Michael "Mike" Otis (17) - A reclusive student. He is a senior (b. April 1, 1968), but his origins are a mystery and his motivations even more obscure.


  • Feldstein - The school's "Locker Baron," who runs an unofficial black market in student locker assignments and is always ready to make a deal.
  • Wayne-o - Inscrutable student who spends less time in class than in the can.
  • Peter Eversleigh - licorice fanatic who seems to have his own dialect.
  • Daphne Sylvester - extremely gorgeous student who Paul has a crush on, but she prefers Mike Otis.


  • Mr. Arthur Morrison - homeroom teacher, guidance, optimist
  • Mr. Willis - Photography, sprains his ankle on a Mike Otis poster, then gets really aggravated when his students make speeches in class praising Mike Otis.
  • Mr. Hennessy - History, gets really mad and threatens violence when his students make speeches in class praising Mike Otis.
  • Ms. Vlorque - English, suffers a mental breakdown when all her students start wearing safety pins in solidarity for Mike Otis' reinstatement.
  • Mrs. Wolfe - Geography, shares Ms. Vlorque's mental fragility.
  • Mr. Schmidt - Chemistry, keeps marking Wayne-O absent whether he's in class or not. In an attempt to avoid a pro-Mike Otis speech, he once stayed away for so long that Wayne-O beat him to class.
  • Coach Murphy - Phys. Ed., as long as Mike Otis supports the sports program, he's okay with him.
  • Mr. Gamble - Vice-Principal, the real power at the school since the Principal clearly doesn't care.
  • Principal - no one knows his real name, and as long as he gets to read the morning announcements, he cares the least about what's going on at his school.

Paul's Family[edit]

  • Mr. Abrams - Paul's father who is ecstatic when Paul turns 16 and is ready to usher him into manhood whether he wants it or not.
  • Mrs. Abrams - Paul's mother who is clueless about her son and is a total slave to her sister Nancy, who lives on Long Island.
  • Auntie Nancy - the true head of the Abrams family. She pushed them into moving to New York in the first place and has no scruples about disrupting their lives whenever she wants or needs something, which is almost all the time.


  1. ^ "Don't Care High, Gordon Korman". Scholastic BookWizard. 
  2. ^ Korman, p. 39
  3. ^ "Don't Care High". Archived from the original on 2008-12-02. 
  • Korman, Gordon (1985). Don't Care High. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 0590431293. 

External links[edit]