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Sidetracked Paperback – September 11, 2018
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However, he is not without help. Joseph has a supportive family, and at school he has access to a Resource Room, a place where he can go to catch his breath, quell his anxieties, and reset his ADD brain when he needs to. In the Resource Room, he has Mrs. T., a teacher who gets what it's like for these kids in school. And if that's not enough, in P.E. class (Joseph's least favorite), he finds help in a surprising place. Just as bully Charlie Kastner is charging at him with a soccer ball, a new kid--a girl even--deftly cuts Charlie off and steals the ball, heading toward the goal.
When Joseph finally gets to talk to the new girl, he finds out that she is named Heather, she is far taller than he expected, she is smart, and she wants to be a track star. Fortunately for them both, Mrs. T. has decided to start a track team, and even though Joseph is not fast, this offers him an opportunity to be part of something bigger than himself.
I am big fan of middle grade books done well, and Diana Harmon Asher's Sidetracked nails it. The novel, her first, is told in first person through Joseph's entertaining voice, and that makes for an absolutely charming story. Honest about the struggles of being in seventh grade, of being ADD, of being bullied, Sidetracked shows readers how to deal with life's challenges with humor and grace. I would recommend this to readers of all ages who find themselves struggling to feel like they fit in. Joseph and Heather's individual struggles to find their places, to find success in a hostile environment, to find what makes them special is something that everyone can relate to. And the fact that it's a lovely story with such fantastic characters just makes it that much better. Don't get sidetracked (sorry! sort of) from reading this book!
Galleys for Sidetracked were provided by Amulet Books/ABRAMS Kids through NetGalley.com, with many thanks.
Joseph Friedman is a middle-school boy who tends to get picked on a lot. He's small, not athletic, and a resource room member with ADD. He loves his teacher, Mrs. T, who encourages him to go out for the new cross country team. Joseph then meets new girl Heather. She is tough, tall, and the probably the best athlete at the school. Together, the two develop a friendship that helps both of them blossom.
I think my favorite thing about this book is that the main character, Joseph, was an outcast for the opposite reasons his new-found friend, Heather, was an outcast. Both did not follow the typical gender stereotypes. Middle-school is tough, especially when you are different from the norm. This book is a must-read for any middle schooler. It gets the point across that it is okay to be YOU!!
Most recent customer reviews
Joseph is in 7th grade and spends part of his day in the resource room.Read more
*****/5 stars. I highly recommend this debut.Read more
Sidetracked is an absolutely charming story about Joseph and Heather, two kids on...Read more