by Sharon G. Flake

Autumn is the only girl on her school wrestling team. She trains and works hard as... read more

Autumn is the only girl on her school wrestling team. She trains and works hard as an athlete but doesn’t put in nearly the same effort academically. Her difficulty reading impacts her ability to succeed in almost every class. Her parents insist that Autumn improve her grades or quit wrestling. They’re trying to be supportive by helping her, but reading is something with which they, too, struggle. Adonis manages the wrestling team and is a high academic achiever. Born without legs, he uses a wheelchair and has been raised by a mother who has always affirmed his abilities. But he’s still reeling from a bullying incident the prior year: All the intelligence in the world can’t save you when you’re drowning. Autumn has a crush on Adonis. Adonis can’t stop thinking about Autumn. He knows you have to be smart to be a good wrestler, so why does she do so poorly in school? Sharon Flake’s novel stands out for its strong characterizations, not only of her two protagonists but also of secondary characters. Uptight and rigid, Adonis starts to appreciate Autumn’s big heart only after his judgmental behavior forces her to take a step back and consider her own self-worth. A story told in the two African American teens’ alternating points of view deals with struggles and fears—of failing, of letting people in—that will resonate with many readers. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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