For the past week, I have been glued to coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games, and this inspired me to reread one of my favorites from my early years. I thought it would be appropriate to review this one even though it's an oldie but a goodie, especially since it's about a triathlete. Ironman by Chris Crutcher has its fair share of funny moments and delivers a powerful story of perseverance and endurance.
Author: Chris Crutcher
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: April 14, 1995
AR Levels: Interest Level--9th to 12th; Book Level--5.5; Points--9.0
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/275846.Ironman
In a nutshell: Bo Brewster is a high school triathlete. He and his father have been at odds for quite some time, and Bo has also developed quite a temper. An incident with his football coach/English teacher lands him in Mr. Nak's "Angry Management" class (which, at first, seems like a motley crew of rule breakers). He enjoys writing letters to one of his favorite celebrities--Larry King, whom he sees as a source of wisdom. His favorite teacher (Mr. S) and his new friends in Mr. Nak's group assist him on a journey of self discovery, in which he learns about love, perseverance, and forgiveness.
I'd recommend it for grades: 8-12+ (There's some "adult language" and some darker issues discussed in this one, so reader discretion is advised.)
I'd recommend it for: Anyone who appreciates a good sports book enmeshed with a bit of teen angst.
What I liked most about this book: It does touch on some serious issues, but Crutcher manages to balance this with many funny moments to keep the reader interested.
Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): Instead of one particular moment, I'm going to pick a favorite character--Mr. Nak. He is by far the funniest and most sarcastic Asian-American cowboy that has ever been written.
Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 5 stars easily. I've read this one three times now, and it never fails to amaze me!