Author: Diana Harmon Asher
Genre: realistic fiction
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Summary (provided by publisher): To Joseph Friedman, middle school might as well be the Running of the Bulls. He’s friendless and puny, with ADD to boot, so he spends most of his time avoiding class bully Charlie Kastner and hiding out in the Resource Room, a safe place for misfit kids like him. But then, on the first day of seventh grade, two important things happen. First, his Resource Room teacher Mrs. T encourages (i.e., practically forces) him to join the school track team, and second, he meets Heather, a tough, athletic new girl who isn’t going to be pushed around by Charlie Kastner—or anybody else.
At first, track is as much of a disaster as everything else in Joseph’s life. But slowly Joseph hits his stride, and instead of running from the bulls . . . he’s just running.
My opinion: There's plenty to love about this book. Sports have a presence but don't bog down the personal development. While many of the characters are characterized as "Resource Room" but it isn't the bulk of their character. They aren't labeled with diagnoses. We see them as more than their labels. The surface plot is simple: an outsider finds acceptance on the track team as he learns about effort and integrity. It's much more than that, though. Joseph and his friends learn about compassion, persistence, overcoming fears, the complexity of adult relationships, good sportsmanship and more, all flowing organically with the plot.
More information: Sidetracked releases August 22.
Advanced Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.