Kevin is an 8th grader at a small rural school and the star of the track team. The school is so small that the whole 8th grade class is on the track team except for two students. Kevin hates track but he’s good at it and as all his friends are on the track team he goes along for the ride. One cold spring day the team is at an away meet, where Kevin lets a team mate run for him in his best event. That night a new state record is set in the 800 meter run by “Kevin Schuler”. Following the meet Kevin rides home with his parents while the rest of the team, including his girlfriend, Ellie, rides home in the school van.
What happens on that ride home changes Kevin’s life forever. In the fall, Kevin must choose a new high school to attend since there are now only three students in the freshman class. Kevin is encouraged to join the track team at his new high school since he holds a "state record" in the 800 meter run. Suddenly Kevin is an unbeatable runner. He runs effortlessly and enjoys a certain amount of fame and notoriety. However, Kevin still doesn't enjoying running and finds no peace as he pushes himself harder and faster than ever. With the help of some new friends, Kevin works through the events of the previous spring and begins to deal with running and his life now.
A very well written, poignant coming of age story about dealing with tragedy that is told with little sentimentality and a lot of humor. Check out Life at These Speeds by Jeremy Jackson.