Top positive review
Very well written and an incredible message for kids to hear. So glad they made this Young Reader version.
Reviewed in the United States on January 6, 2016
My 8-year old son reads a lot of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books and that sort of "book" :/, so it was such a breath of fresh air to introduce him to a book that is SO WELL WRITTEN, and has such a great message of perseverance and overcoming obstacles. The Audience Guide says 4th-7th grade, but I think even younger grades might be ok, especially if parents read it with, or to, their 1st-4th grader, as the subject matter in parts can be a little emotional, and a few concepts would be helpful to pause and talk about. (I wanted to pause and talk about ALL the parts!!) The way the book jumps from Joe's childhood to adulthood every-other chapter might be confusing at first if kids aren't familiar with that literary device. One thing that would have helped this confusion is if the book designer/publisher made the little icon of the rowers under the chapter # (which is ALWAYS the same) different for the chapters that have to do with his youth. For example, only use that crew/boat icon on the chapters about the UW team, but for the other chapters use a different icon/illustration that has to do with his childhood to help guide the reader when there's a time switch.
I have not read the original version, but plan to because this was such a compelling and captivating story. I hope they make a movie out of it, too.