18 September 2012, HarperCollins
Harrison’s mother is not able to take care of him, and he ends up being moved from foster family to foster family. The Constables are on a farm and particularly abusive. Harrison doesn’t mind working, but he does mind the beatings. When the father is accidentally killed, Harrison ends up with the daughter of his social worker, who is married to a football coach. They are very kind, and the idea of finally being able to play football, a sport he loves to watch, helps Harrison control his anger. Unfortunately, some of the other football players don’t appreciate him doing so well as a newcomer, especially when the cute and nice Becky also has her eye on him, and they make his life more difficult. Harrison is able to work through these issues and adjust to life with Coach and his wife, and has great promise as a football player, but when he is sidelined by a knee injury, the unthinkable is discovered—he has a cancerous tumor on his knee, and his leg has to be amputated. Luckily, Coach has a friend who lost a leg in the war, and he moves in to help Harrison with his therapy. Bauer is hard on Harrison, but it’s better than letting wallow in self-pity. While undergoing chemotherapy, Harrison meets Marty, who is worse off than he is, and is motivated by his supportive community to get better and train to once again be a football player. The narrative includes descriptions of real life people who triumphed over similar obstacles.
Strengths: Green writes a riveting sports book, always. Harrison is an understandable character, and the sports details are great. If you have a middle school or even high school library (I was surprised to find that Harrison was supposed to be an 8th grader), just go by two copies right now, because it will never be on the shelf.
Weaknesses: A bit clichéd and schmaltzy, but students will not realize this as much.
***WARNING*** PERSONALITY LEAKAGE***
Last week, the cross country team was short one person for a relay race. Since I didn't hear that we were running 400 relays, I volunteered. I kept up with the pack for about 200 meters, then started feeling a weird tingling in my fingers and wrists. I finished and did not pass out, but it was sad. This was a good lesson in preparation for our runners. If you have nothing to drink but a cup of tea at 6:00 a.m., nothing to eat all day but a handful of almonds, and your daily training does not include speed work, you won't run quickly.
This week has been like that run. I feel unprepared to deal with the work load, but don't know where my training is lacking. The biggest problem has been the fact that the library is closed 2 out of 6 periods in the day for study hall. During the study hall I am not monitoring, I go to classrooms to do the lessons, but somehow this puts me behind on checking in books and doing other library duties. I think the beginning of the year is always like this, but I forget. I had the sort of day yesterday that will make today GREAT!
That, and then I found out the the single biggest traffic source for my blog is Pinterest. Grrr. This weekend when I am waiting up for teenager at Homecoming, I may investigate further!
Later note: No, no, no!! Thank you to everyone who pinned stuff from me and sent traffic here! It's fantastic. It's just that I don't understand how Pinterest works, and I should have awesome stuff on my Pinterest... boards(?) for people to see, so now I have to understand Pinterest. All good! I'm just really old! (The time travel outfit was GREAT fun. I like to wear it just as a regular outfit just for kicks!)