A freak football accident turns high school senior Gary Madden from super-jock into ""Superquad""--the nickname he's given by other quadraplegics at the rehab center. You can't help but root for Gary, a quintessential good guy, who muscle by muscle diligently progresses from almost total paralysis to partial recovery of his arm movements. And Brancato also supplies an ultra-supportive supporting cast to help him through rough times: there's a true-blue girlfriend, a good buddy from his gridiron days, fussing but well-intentioned parents, and a young, recently widowed English teacher who teaches Gary to see ""anagrams as the metaphor for my life--making something new out of the scrambled parts."" At times the generalized insights into being handicapped come perilously close to the type of easy truths caught on reruns of Marcus Welby. But Brancato has a telling eye for detail--e.g., Gary's embarrassment over involuntary erections--and an uncanny ear for dialogue, especially the bluff bantering between Gary and his rehab roomies, which add heft--and heart--to this hospital story.