Maxed Out

  • Pages:128
  • Publisher:Orca Book Publishers
  • Themes:neurodiversity, brothers, responsibility, family dynamics, death of a parent
  • Pub Date:02/08/2022
  • Fry Level:2.0
  • Lexile:HL450L
  • ATOS:3.0
  • Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient:U
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Twelve-year-old Max just wants to play hockey.

But ever since his dad died, Max's mom has been struggling. Now Max has to take his brother, Duncan, who is autistic, with him wherever he goes. Max's team is counting on him to help them win the upcoming playoff game against the Red Eagles, but one practice makes it clear that it's not safe to leave his brother unattended on the sidelines. With only a week to figure out how he can play in the big game, Max is feeling the pressure. Will he find a way to be a good teammate, a good brother and a good son, or is it all too much for one kid?

"Greer tells this story with genuine empathy as Max copes with his mom and brother, protects Duncan from a local bully, and sneaks in some fun with Ian. The resolution may be quick but is not too pat for credibility. Another fine entry in the Orca Currents line that will engage reluctant readers without talking down to them or sounding stilted."
– Booklist
"A realistic portrayal of a family rocked by the sudden death of their husband and father. Targeted at 10- to 13-year olds, this novel does an excellent job of layering the stresses and tensions of Max's world...Greer delivers a well-written, engaging novel for preteens who will be drawn in by the apparent sports focused cover and the sports related theme but who will ultimately be exposed to a book that digs a little deeper and that turns out to tell a much more important story...Highly Recommended."
– CM Magazine
"The boy's relationship with his family will hold readers' attention. This book would make a good purchase for large libraries or those that have heavily used reluctant-reader collections."
– School Library Journal
"Greer has some nice turns of phrase...[and] the closing scene in the novel is heart-warming and well written."
– Resource Links
"This short novel delivers with a story that is both interesting and realistic."
– Southwestern Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group
"A touching, well-told story of adolescence being usurped by caring for a special needs brother and a grieving mom...A well written, sensitive book that not only offers resolution to the storyline, but supporting information in the author’s notes (back of the book) to access organizations that offer assistance."
– Tacoma Public School District