Maddy doesn't find it easy adjusting to grade nine. The friendships and loyalties she took for granted in middle school are being challenged, and there's so much more competition on her track team now. When Maddy stumbles across a friend being bullied behind the school after a track practice, she suspects something nasty is going on. So when Coach announces one of the team members has been robbed, she realizes the two incidents must be connected. Everyone on the track and field team is under suspicion. How can ...
Maddy doesn't find it easy adjusting to grade nine. The friendships and loyalties she took for granted in middle school are being challenged, and there's so much more competition on her track team now. When Maddy stumbles across a friend being bullied behind the school after a track practice, she suspects something nasty is going on. So when Coach announces one of the team members has been robbed, she realizes the two incidents must be connected. Everyone on the track and field team is under suspicion. How can the team function with so much uneasiness among its members? Maddy realizes the only way to bring the team together again is to make some changes.
"Loughead has created rich and evocative characters in Maddy, Kat and Shauna. Their struggles are universal and explored with insight."
"This high-interest, low-reading-level title balances slow pacing with a well-developed story as bullying, theft, and surrounding secrets add challenges for Maddy, her friends, and their entire track team. Loughead explores the importance of friendship, communication, forgiveness, standing up to bullying, truthfulness, and doing the right thing in this timely story, and readers will empathize with the subtle misunderstandings that lead to Maddy's alienation from her old friends, while cheering for her as she tries to set things right."
"Moves at a moderate pace and uses clear, straightforward language...A good read for a student who is not sure what to expect of the transition to high school, or who is experiencing anxiety over the transition, and for those readers interested in reading about sports and athletics."
Tucson Unified School District
"Realistic and well-paced, it should appeal to fans of the Orca Sports series."
- Sarah Maury Swan
Maddy is one of the two fastest runners on her high-school track team; the other fastest is her best friend, Kat. There is another swift runner, Shauna, on the team, but she always comes in third in the practice races and last in making friends. Maddy, who hates when anybody is mad at her, befriends Shauna, discovering she is not as stuck up or angry as everyone thinks. But Maddy is also worried about her brother Matt, who is a shot-putter on the team and is now not showing up for practice or staying home much or telling Maddy what is going on. Their mother is not worried, saying she trusts her son to be doing the right things. Maddy witnesses the beating of her friend Zenia, but does nothing to help, and ends up feeling guilty. To make things even more complicated, Shauna is concerned about her brother, Justin, hanging out with the wrong crowd and wants Maddy's help getting him to copy Matt instead. And then there is the question of who stole stuff from several team member's backpacks. Maddy and Kat have a big fight about inviting Shauna to sit with them at lunch. Kat screams that she has been letting Maddy win every other time. In the end, all the problems are solved and Shauna beats Kat and Maddy for the desired spot of running the hundred meter race. There is a lot of material packed in this book that could spark classroom discussions of social behavior. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
- Sherrie Williams
There are four new entries in the Orca Sports fiction series; the two reviewed here feature the sports of rock climbing and track and field. In Edge Of Flight, recent high school graduate, Vanisha, has one more weekend to enjoy her new hobby of rock climbing with her two friends before she moves east to begin college. When the trio unwittingly discovers a marijuana plantation, Vanisha must face her toughest rock-climbing challenge yet in an effort to save the life of a friend critically wounded by the bikers who were guarding the illegal drug farm. Along the way, she finds the inner strength to make some big changes in her future plans. Sidetracked is the story of a pair of friends who have become fierce competitors on their high school track team. Maddy finds that ninth grade is very different from middle school. Her quest to make the relay team is further complicated when she sees a teammate being bullied and thefts occur within the team, creating mistrust among former allies.These new additions to the popular Orca Sports series continue in the successful format of the series, which is now approaching thirty-five books. Each of these two titles features sports-based stories with compelling teen conflict, social issues, and elements of mystery. The characters and plot sometimes lean toward a formulamatic bend, but they will appeal to reluctant readers of either gender. These titles are an excellent addition to any collection seeking high-interest, lower reading level selections. (Orca Sports) Reviewer: Sherrie Williams
Deb Loughead is the author of 16 books for children and young adults. She completed an English degree at the University of Toronto before working as a copy editor. She turned to creative writing after deciding to stay home to raise her three sons. Deb's books have been translated into Swedish, Norwegian, German and French. In addition to having extensive experience with educational writing, Deb has conducted workshops and held readings at schools, festivals and conferences across the country. She has written and directed children’s plays and taught creative writing classes for adults in Toronto. Her award-winning poetry and adult fiction have appeared in a variety of Canadian publications. Deb likes to spend her non-writing time reading, knitting or hanging around horses as a therapeutic riding volunteer. She lives with her family in Toronto, Ontario.