Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Sports Fiction
Publishing Date: September 16th, 2014 by Philomel Books
Summary: 12-year-old Charlie is a fantasy football guru. He may be just a bench warmer for his school's football team, but when it comes to knowing and loving the game, he's first-string. He even becomes a celebrity when his podcast gets noticed by a sports radio host, who plays Charlie's fantasy picks for all of Los Angeles to hear. Soon Charlie befriends the elderly owner of the L.A. Bulldogs -- a fictional NFL team -- and convinces him to take a chance on an aging quarterback. After that, watch out . . . it's press conferences and national fame as Charlie becomes a media curiosity and source of conflict for the Bulldogs general manager, whose job Charlie seems to have taken. It's all a bit much for a kid just trying to stay on top of his grades and maintain his friendship with his verbal sparring partner, Anna.
What I Liked: If there is anything that I like in a good book, it is middle-school-ish aged kids, sports, or said kids who become really important. Of course, I wouldn't be talking about those factors if the book didn't have all three. It was really cool to see some kid suddenly be propped up to fame and become a huge influence in the sports world. Not to mention how fun of a game fantasy football is, which I play even though it isn't for any money or anything. Mike Lupica is the premier middle-aged sports writer and for good reason; this book had a great story line and if you're willing to dabbel into sports fiction this novel will be great for you.
What I Didn't Like: I don't believe I can remember anything that made me think I didn't want to read it any further. I think something I would have changed was Anna and her family, who of course consist of the owner and general manager. At times they seemed slightly to arrogant for the novel. The novel was a funny and had a light mood but would almost be "interrupted" by some snarky remark, which frankly I could have done without.
Final Rating: 9.4 out of ten.
Why? It was a great book indeed, just do keep in mind it is a sports-oriented book, so if you don't like that kind of stuff, I would stay away from my recommendation.