Thank you to the @kidlitexchange for the free review copy of his book
– all opinions are my own.
Side Tracked by Diana Harmon Asher
(August 27th 2017 ~ Amulet Books)
I highly recommend this debut. This novel was relatable to everyone who has ever gone through an awkward phase in their life or had challenges with their peers. In my opinion, this is what middle school is mostly about; pining for peer acceptance, approval, and just trying to make it. The story is about Joseph who has learning difficulties and who is challenged in unexpected ways. He is the “underdog” of the story that you are rooting for throughout the book. He is a character that is quirky yet relatable in many ways. This boy that may not have an athletic bone in his body is convinced to join the track team. He befriends the new girl in school who has differences that pose challenges for her as well. Their connection and friendship are ones we all hope for. I really enjoyed this book and would absolutely recommend it to my students and other middle grade readers. The characters are those you can picture being your own friends. The author does a great job with the description of the track meets and you feel as if you are cheering on the sidelines for these middle schoolers, not for them to win necessarily but to get a personal best. This is a stellar message for all: it’s not always about winning, but overcoming challenges and getting the PR or doing your personal best!
You can also follow our tags on Instagram and Twitter to see all of our reviews: