Author: Asher, Diana Harmon
Seventh-grader Joseph Friedman is friendless and puny, with ADD to boot. He spends most of his time avoiding the class bully and hiding out in the Resource Room. But the Resource Room teacher encourages (i.e., practically forces) him to join the school cross country team, and he meets Heather, a new student who's tough and athletic and refuses to be pushed around by anybody.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 193231
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 75200
Kirkus Reviews (05/15/17)
School Library Journal (-) (06/01/17)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/07/17)
The Hornbook (00/07/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 06/01/2017 Gr 4–6—Joseph, a boy with attention deficit disorder (ADD) and anxiety, joins his school's cross-country team and finds his footing. On the first day of school, he meets Heather, a new student, when she puts the school bully, a constant source of misery in Joseph's life, in his place. Joseph is convinced to join the cross-country team by a teacher and is surprised to discover Heather is also on the team. While running does not come easily, Joseph develops a connection to Heather, who also feels isolated. Their unlikely friendship blossoms as Joseph attempts not to win but to run his "PR" (personal record). The characters in Asher's debut novel are likable and approachable, and the story is absorbing and moves quickly. Readers will root for Joseph and his new teammates. The protagonist's worries seem typical for a kid his age, though he has a lot more of them than most children. However, Joseph's diagnoses are problematic. He specifically says he has ADD but not attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but the medical community currently categorizes ADD as a form of ADHD. Joseph also explains that his school psychologist diagnoses him with "anticipatory anxiety." In real life, a trained psychologist would offer Joseph strategies or tools to manage his anxiety, but save for one misunderstood instruction to keep a "worry list," none are mentioned in the text. Readers familiar with the challenges of living with ADD or anxiety disorders are likely to find Joseph's ability to overcome his issues unrealistic. VERDICT An engaging novel with an oversimplified portrayal of mental illness.—Mary Kuehner, Arapahoe Library District, CO - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 06/01/2017 It’s an all-too-familiar scenario for Joseph: Charlie, the maniacal class bully, thundering down the soccer field toward him. But just before impact, Heather hip checks Charlie, sends him sprawling, steals the ball, and scores. The new girl in town, she doesn’t seem to mind that Joseph has learning issues (attention deficit disorder) or that he’s no athlete. Her strength and her outsider perspective are valuable to him as they navigate seventh grade as friends, both in school and on the newly formed track team, where he unexpectedly finds that he belongs. An entertaining mix of events, conversations, anxieties, and reflections, Joseph’s first-person narrative engages readers on page one and never lets up. The combination of acute observation and wry humor is disarming, and Joseph isn’t one to shy away from mulling over his own shortcomings. In the end, his big heart outweighs any number of supposed defects and enables him to help others in his family, on his team, and in his wider circle of friends. Justice is sweet when bullies get their comeuppance in this rewarding first novel. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.