Flake, Sharon Pinned, 228 pgs. Scholastic Press, 2012. $17.99. Language : G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence: G.
Autumn is the 14 year old, African American star of her high school wrestling team. She is outgoing, bubbly and believes that Adonis is the man for her. BUT, she cannot read and is failing her academic classes. Adonis, also 14 years old, is the manager of the wrestling team, has been in a wheelchair his entire life and is very smart. He believes that academic failure is a sign of lack of determination and cannot see a future with her (“I like everything in order; Chaos is her name”). Autumn’s parents, alarmed by her failing grades, pull her from the wrestling team until her grades improve. Autumn asks Adonis to help her but he is unwilling to let her that close to him. Will Autumn be able to succeed in school and will Adonis loosen up to let her in?
I loved this book from the first page (explaining a wrestling match) through the subsequent chapters which alternate in Autumn’s and Adonis’ very different voices. These are likable teens with teachers and parents who care about them. The plot covers a wide range of areas of interest to young adults: validation of differing abilities, sports, young love, the pressure to cheat to succeed, and individual determination. This young adult high-low book (Lexile 460) would be ideal for reluctant and struggling readers not only due to the sports action, multicultural characters, and high interest topics but also the format of the book. The strategies that Autumn uses to increase her vocabulary and her realization that she needs to apply the same determination that she had for wrestling to reading may also interest them.
MS, HS – ESSENTIAL Reviewer: SGH, MS Librarian