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Life at These Speeds

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4.07  ·  Rating Details  ·  417 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
Kevin Schuler is popular, has a wonderful girlfriend, and is the fastest runner on his tiny school's track team. At a track meet, on a cool March night, he anchors a winning relay, trades insults with a rival, and lets another boy run in his stead in his best event: the 800-meter run. Everything works out for Kevin - perhaps it always has. But after the meet, as Kevin ride ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published July 5th 2002 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published 2002)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 868)
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Lacy
Sep 08, 2007 Lacy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: high school athletes, athletes in general
This beautifully written book focuses on something that really intrigues me: how our perception of the absolute, 100% truth can be distorted for a variety of reasons: trauma, spite, grief, joy, love, etc. Reading about a high school kid dealing with this [amidst a whole community dealing with it] is pretty amazing.
readdddd iittttttt. Do it.
Alan Baird
Oct 03, 2014 Alan Baird rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book I am reviewing is called Life At These Speeds. In
this book Jeremy Jackson has written a book that is pure gold to any
competitive runner. This book portrays the life of Kevin Schuler. Who is
a young runner with a motivation to push him through barriers. The book
starts with a young and scrawny Kevin who is a pretty good 8th grade
track runner for school. Then after a track meet his team suffers a
tragic car accident leaving him and a friend to be the only members
left. After a turn of
...more
Lys
Jul 24, 2007 Lys rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a suprise. It was suggested to me. I read the cover, nearly did a spit take thinking it would be so cheesey. After reading it, I can see how writing a summary to entice a person to read it would be quite difficult. A very moving book about a young highschool student overcoming a tradgedy that left a big gaping hole in his soul and memory. Not cheesey, not sappy. It traces the unconvential emotional journey this kid takes to heal.
Desztiny
Feb 10, 2016 Desztiny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It starts out with an eighth grader Kevin Shuller. This boy is very well popular and has some amazing times on the track. One day after a trackmeet, Kevin decides not to ride in the van for the first time with his trackteam, best friends, and girlfriend. All of the sudden, something so tragic happens that throws him way off of the what you would say "original mind set". After the tragic incident, his life takes a turn but he does not let the fact that the incident happen stop him from his dreams ...more
Jenny
Jun 06, 2016 Jenny rated it liked it
I'm waffling between giving this book a 3 and a 4..... parts of this were truly inspiring and inspired, but parts of this dragged a bit.

The story is told by Kevin, who starts the book as an 8th grader and finishes it as a senior. It's cleverly told, and his voice is an unusual one - he has a very unique voice, one that seems older than his age. After a spring track meet, he heads home in his parent's car while the rest of his teammates take the van - they end up going over a bridge and no one su
...more
Mgipple
Apr 22, 2014 Mgipple rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book, but you probably won't. It's rare that I reread books, but it had been a while for this one, so much that I couldn't remember the plot or any characters, so I read it again the other week, 4/10/14.

Jackson writes simply, from the main character's perspective. I think I like the book because regardless of Jackson's skill (which I think is not mind-blowing but perfectly fine), my personal experience matches very well with the book's setting, the main character, and the plot. I re
...more
Ellie
May 10, 2007 Ellie rated it liked it
An entertaining book about a kid who runs track. Another kid on his middle school team borrows his spikes and races in his place in a meet, and proceeds to win a state record. Then, while the van is traveling home, it crashes into a river and everybody on board dies. The main character was riding with his parents and he lives. He goes sort of psychologically batty and does nothing but run. He starts winning all of the state records, and he doesn’t even remember what’s happening to him or anybody ...more
Allison Barnes
I am a runner, so I went into this book with extremely high expectations. When I first started it (as in, the first chapter), I wasn't blown away - I had a hard time relating to Kevin, to figuring out what his mindset was, and I was ready to punch my boyfriend for giving me the book.
However, as I kept reading, I became engrossed in Kevin, in his journey, in how he was handling things (or not handling them), and all of the (view spoiler)
...more
Brandy
I'm giving this four stars for now, but I have an idea my opinion of it will creep up over time. I can't point to any obvious elements that make it so wonderful, or anything that particularly detracts. At its heart, it's a coming-of-age story (but it's about a boy, so it's billed as Bildungsroman) of a high-school boy dealing with grief after his entire track team is killed in a car accident. He deals by not dealing, really, losing himself to physicality (running), allowing speed to block out ev ...more
Jen
Aug 01, 2010 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A high school freshman, Kevin , loses his entire track team (including his girlfriend, Ellie) when the school van goes off a bridge on a foggy night. Kevin was spared, as his parents came to the meet, and drove him home.

He begins to run as homage to his dead teammates, developing a talent no one in the state can rival, and receiving notoriety, scholarships, and gifts.

Of course, the respects paid give him little gratification, and he has a difficult time forging relationships with his peers—it
...more
Claire
May 06, 2015 Claire rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that stays with you long after you've finished reading, a beautiful and memorable look into the life of Kevin Shuler. Its the kind of book that makes you wonder at what you've just read, that makes you want to read it again, as if there's some sort of life message that has been revealed in it's pages. Please read this book. It's beautiful, well written, and interesting.
Seth
May 06, 2007 Seth rated it really liked it
After my first reading, I started recommending this book to tons of folks. At the time, I couldn't quite recall if the author's first name was Jeremy or Joshua. It turns out the confusion was due to some hidden nugget of knowledge that there is an actor named Joshua Jackson (apparently, he starred in Dawson's Creek). Anyway, with that confusion cleared up, I now accurately report the author's name when I continue to recommend the book. It was a pretty excellent first novel (albeit with all the h ...more
Allyannzing
Feb 27, 2012 Allyannzing rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Best book I have ever read. I'm seeing that people either loved it or hated it. I went through a nearly similar experience of that to Kevin, and was going through a rough patch in my life. You don't need to love running to love this book. Although I also run track, I hate running. This book is beyond inspiring. This is a must read. I love this book so much I refuse to lend it to friends incase they won't return it. Best book ever. I don't understand how people got bored with it. I couldn't let i ...more
Carin
This is the kind of novel I dreamed about when I first became an editor. I felt so lucky that I was able to acquire it and edit it myself (not that it needed much editing) and I would like to thank all the dingbats who declined it before it got to me. Kevin Schuler is a character that has really stuck with me for now 8 years, and this is a book I continue to press into people's hands. A beautiful, heart-wrenching, powerful novel, I would have adored it even if it hadn't been so well received. Bu ...more
Bree Taylor
Jan 07, 2015 Bree Taylor rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
Poignant and chilling. An excellent look into the psyche of a young man dealing with tragedy amidst a backdrop of small town life and athletic prowess.
Marisa Vaughn
I had a really hard time getting into this book because the author's depiction of Missouri high school track was really inaccurate.
Tom Birkland
May 27, 2007 Tom Birkland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: runners, athletes, or people who like witty writing
This is a wonderful book, and I think is a first time effort by a younger writer about a high school track star who runs despite an event about which he feels guilty. Sorry for the circumlocution, but no spoilers here! The names of some of the characters are really funny (Bobolink Crustacean, for example) but the descriptions of what it's like to run races, particularly middle distance events, is really interesting. Particularly for someone who never was able to get into the runner's mindset. I ...more
Kae Cheatham
Jul 15, 2010 Kae Cheatham rated it liked it
1st person with a convincing depiction of an adolescent's 4-year coming to grips with death and loss. Setting of track and field events is persuasive, with H S and college administrators bending the rules to get their hands on primo athletes.

Jackson's use of ridiculous character names (except for the protagonist and the coach he likes) belittled the serious themes in the book. The names weren't enough to take the edge off, but seemed rather silly. A few plot elements were hinted at and never fu
...more
Ian Watts
Feb 07, 2015 Ian Watts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
loved all of it.
Danimal
May 14, 2009 Danimal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some kind of wonderful! Really, just a sweet sweet book - lovely tone, funny stuff, quirky characters, nice setting. All about a boy on a middle school track team whose whole grade dies in a bus accident and then finds that he has superduper speed and a total loss of memory. Sounds more out there than it really is. It's more slow and dreamy, about the next four years of his life as he breaks track records and tries to piece together his fractured memory and life. I can't believe it's this guy's ...more
Bill P.
Oct 21, 2009 Bill P. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I let this sit on my shelf for quite a while before finally picking it up but what a page turner this quirky first novel is. Jackson took a lot of chances with this story, weird names for characters, way sophisticated dialogue for 7th graders but it all made for an increasingly compelling read. I have passed the book on twice now as a must read. And an ending that chokes the reader up as powerfully as the final pages of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. This novel deserves a much wider audience.
Diane
Aug 12, 2009 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It was a combo of things I like - a strong main character, (in this case, a high school runner), a conflict to over come, and running! For a first book, I think the author really captured the whole "coming of age angst", how grief can play out differently in people, and the whole experience of being a runner (emotionally, physically, mentally). I would recommend this book to all my friends - I think you might all get a little something different from the read.
Suzanne Hamilton
I couldn't quite figure out who would like to read this book, or whom I would recommend it to. It wasn't a fast-paced adventure, nor was it particularly realistic. It wasn't exactly an indictment of corrupt athletes and coaches, although that was a big part of the story. The protagonist had experienced a life-changing event, but he wasn't directly responsible for it. Why was he both lionized and vilified by his community? The whole thing just didn't hold together for me.
Justin Heinze
One of my all-time favorite books. As a runner, I appreciated Kevin's love of the beauty of the sport. Jackson also handles the tragedy very well, in a sort of Hemingway-esque manner, staying for the most part out of Kevin's head and allowing his actions to do the talking without trying to shove all this emotion down our throats. One of the best books, if not the best book, that I've read which was released this decade.
Apzmarshl
Oct 07, 2008 Apzmarshl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the witty writing so much I wanted to know the characters in real life. This is a book for/about teens so I will say that the F word appeared on page 4 and ran through out the book. This, I hated. I don't care if teens today are swearing like they don't have the brains to use language properly. I would hate for my kids to pick this up and IMMEDIATELY be hit with trash. It really ruined some exceptional writing.
Lori
Apr 18, 2009 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
8th grade boy, coming home from a track meet, loses his entire team in an automobile accident. Kevin had driven home with his parents so wasn't involved in the crash. The book details how he survives losing his teammates, friends and girlfriend all the while becoming a nationally ranked runner. The book is quirky, sad, and inspiring all at the same time.
Rae
Feb 06, 2013 Rae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At page 18, i was ready to give it up. The character names are cheesy and I envisioned a full book of high school angst. "I'll give it one hundred pages", I told my husband, "then reassess".

Finished it. Four stars. The rough start dissipated quickly, as the plot declared.

Smooth and pleasant reading for runners and former athletes of all ilks.
Lacy Katherine
Jan 02, 2015 Lacy Katherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: high school athletes, athletes in general
This beautifully written book focuses on something that really intrigues me: how our perception of the absolute, 100% truth can be distorted for a variety of reasons: trauma, spite, grief, joy, love, etc. Reading about a high school kid dealing with this [amidst a whole community dealing with it] is pretty amazing.
readdddd iittttttt. Do it.
Dana
Jul 10, 2014 Dana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I just couldn't get into this book. I guess I wasn't in the right place for a literary fiction that was trying too hard to be artsy... I'm losing patience for those kinds of books. I would have given it a bit longer to change my mind but there are too many books catching my eye right now and I couldn't justify struggling along. It's abandoned.
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Jeremy Jackson was raised in the Ozark borderlands of central Missouri on a small farm. He attended Vassar College, where he won the English Department Prize for Fiction. After college he earned his M.F.A. at the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, where he studied under Frank Conroy, Marilynne Robinson, and James Alan McPherson. While in the Workshop, he was awarded a Teaching-Writing Fellows ...more
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