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Teens who struggle to successfully navigate the mixed messages the adults in their lives so often deliver (i.e., "don't give in to peer pressure, but give in to me") will no doubt see themselves in Chris Crutcher's intensely likable IRONMAN protagonist, Bo Brewster.

The freethinking seventeen-year-old is no stranger to hard work. He's trained for years to become the best triathlete in Washington State. But, because he doesn't set his focus on more traditional academic team sports, his father and his high school English teacher (the football coach who resents Bo's choice not to play) label him a "screw up."

Only after he's drawn into an angry confrontation with the coach, does Bo begin to discover his deepest personal strength. A mandated anger management class helps him realize that truth and real acceptance often come from unexpected sources.

Chris Crutcher is a master when it comes to capturing the essence of intelligent teen angst. His prose is crisp, funny and fast moving. His characters have genuine depth and undeniable heart.

Crutcher has been labeled as an author of YA sports fiction. But the meat of IRONMAN and most of his other novels is drawn from brain, not brawn. His goal is to empower young people --- to help them stand up against dishonesty, regardless of its origins. IRONMAN deftly meets the challenge. It is bright, thoughtful young adult fiction at its best.


Reviewed by Kelly Milner Halls on October 18, 2011

by Chris Crutcher

  • Publication Date: June 1, 1996
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf
  • ISBN-10: 044021971X
  • ISBN-13: 9780440219712