Adversity means that you have difficult challenges in your life. Jeff has had a lot of adversities in his life. For example, he had leukemia. He also had nerve and brain damage from chemotherapy. He overcame these adversities by being brave and surrounding himself with people that care about him. In the text it said, "During my cancer treatment, he used to make me laugh when nobody else could." Steven was the only person that could make him laugh when he was going through his cancer treatment so that's why he liked being around him.
The major adversity Tad faced when he was young was that he had a brain tumor. He had brain surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, and a bone marrow transplant. He overcame this by having his family help him. But while he had his family, he was also pushing his little sister away. "Truthfully, I always figured I'd probably die. And I thought maybe it will be easier for everyone if Yvonne doesn't get too attached to me." Tad is mean to Yvonne because he doesn't want her to get attached to him just in case he dies.
In 8th grade, Jeff goes through not being with his brother, having his best friend die, and having to worry about the state testing. The steps that he takes to overcome these adversities are that he wrote emails to his brother and expressed his anger at him in them but never sent them. In the text it said, "His next chance ? His next chance for what ? Never mind-- I didn't want clarification. What I really wanted was to scream and yell. But I settled for just typing really hard." Jeff is angry at Steven so he expresses his anger by saying how he feels in his emails to his brother. To prepare for the state testing, Tad tutors him up until the actual tests happen. For the adversity of his best friend dying, he didn't really overcome that. However, he did accept Tad's diploma for him at graduation. "And now, accepting both his own diploma and the one earned by our departed friend, Thaddeus Ibsen: Jeffrey Alper."
The adversities Tad faced in 8th grade were that he gets cancer again and he wants to be remembered. Tad had to get a bone marrow transplant to try and get rid of the cancer. He also acted brave for everyone else so that they wouldn't be freaking out. "You're my biggest beau geste. Getting you onto that stage is way more important to me than strolling across it." Even though Tad has cancer again, he still wants to help Jeff pass the state tests so that he can graduate. "The doctors just have to drip some cells from my sister's bone marrow into my veins and hope the new cells save me.... Oh, gotta go. Toodles, kids!" Tad is acting calm about everything that is going on so that no one else is freaking out.
The theme of this story is to never give up when you're faced with difficult tasks. For example, when Jeff found out about the state tests, he didn't just sit around and do nothing, he prepared for them. Also, when Tad was determined to walk across the stage. "But I was actually doing OK in math."Jeff is getting better at math because Tad has been tutoring him for the state tests. "We're a team. I tutor you, and you work out with me. You pass, I walk." Tad wants to walk across the stage at graduation as long as Jeff passes the state tests.