Indies Introduce

Middle Grade

  • Sidetracked, Diana Harmon Asher
    Amulet Books, 9781419726019, August 22, 2017 (Middle Grade)

    “Joseph Friedman is a middle-school student for whom nothing goes well. He’s scrawny, he’s bullied, he has no real friends, and he has ADD. On the other hand, Joseph is very self-aware and has one teacher who pushes him to do better. Mrs. T is also his new cross-country coach. Joseph’s journey through woods and up hills slowly transforms his relationships and his confidence. Asher gives us a narrator to root for with a unique voice and a strong supporting cast.”

    -Dave Shallenberger, Little Shop of Stories (Decatur, GA)

    "Sidetracked is the story of two outsiders connecting.  Heather and Joseph are complete opposites, she is tall, strong and an excellent student.  Joseph is puny, has severe ADD, and sees every school day as a struggle to survive.   Diana Asher has crafted a highly satisfying underdog story about the power of just trying to do your personal best."

    -Laura Delaney, Rediscovered Books (Boise, ID)

    "Middle school is a challenge for most kids, but Joseph has the deck stacked against him. He has trouble with bullies, he’s terrible at sports, no good at making friends, and his attention deficit disorder means he’s always focusing on the wrong things at school. When Joseph’s teacher pushes him into joining the school’s brand-new cross country team, Joseph suffers runner’s cramps, shoes lost to mud, and trails covered in goose poop. He also learns how good it feels to strive for his personal best, and what it means to have friends. Joseph’s voice is funny and self-deprecating. His care and concern for his friends, his teachers, and his family will endear him to readers (who will also love Joseph’s widowed grandfather, a scofflaw who gets arrested on a senior-center trip to Atlantic City). Joseph’s struggles to find a place for himself at school, to figure out what he is good at when nothing comes easily to him--these are universal. As someone who grew up with ADD, I found Joseph’s story both warmly reassuring and achingly familiar. And what book-lover among us can resist a story that includes both some quirky affection for the Dewey decimal system and the prospect of romance for an elderly school librarian?"

    -Annie Farrell, Labyrinth Books (Princeton, NJ)

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