Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
When Rutgers junior Eric LeGrand collapsed on the field in October 2010 after a tackle gone wrong, his football career, along with his ability to walk and care for himself, disappeared. Paralyzed from the neck down, LeGrand had to depend fully on nurses and his mother, whose devotion helps form the heart of this wrenching yet uplifting story. Adapted from an adult memoir, published simultaneously, the book's tight structure builds tension, with LeGrand's narrative shifting between life before and af-ter the accident. He starkly details the physical and emotional effects of becoming paralyzed (for ex-ample, feeling brutally cold even in midsummer and the agony of not being able to scratch his nose). Despite the reverberations of the accident, the moment of the tragedy isn't the climax of the story-rather, it's LeGrand's decision to move forward with courage. LeGrand's faith and optimism power through even the darkest details of his slow recovery, yet he still honestly explores what the accident has cost him. The author's ability to reexamine and reinvent himself despite a debilitating setback may motivate readers to seize their own ambitions. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 6 Up-LeGrand relates events that might be considered tragic, but his story is inspirational. From his days as a restless kid who dreamed of playing in the big leagues, through to his high school days, he was a notable all-around athlete. The Rutgers University football coach courted him when he was just a high school freshman. His athleticism attracted the attention of scouts from major division schools throughout the country, and he received 50 to 100 recruitment letters every day. Only his grades fumbled, but the young man was determined. With the support of a tutor, he pulled his grades and SAT scores out of the dumps. With the endorsement of Rutgers coach Greg Shiano, he pursued his goal and became a part of the team. And then during a pivotal play in his junior year, the dream ended. LeGrand dove for a tackle, his helmet collided with the collarbone of another player, and his spinal cord absorbed the full impact. He broke his neck and crushed two vertebrae. Despite how broken his body was, his spirit hardly wavered. He describes two years of a changed life, daily intensive rehab therapy, and his new goal: walking. Football fans will welcome the detailed descriptions of LeGrand's time on the field. With faith and perseverance, he continues to push himself beyond overwhelming odds.-Alison Follos, formerly at North Country School, Lake Placid, NY (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.