Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Sports/Realistic Fiction
Publishing Date: May 8th 2012 by Scholastic Press
Summary: Mike Lupica delivers a New York Times bestselling middle grade series!
Ben McBain is every football team's dream player. He's a jack-of-all-trades guy that can handle almost any position. When the game is on the line, Ben's number is the one being called for the final play. But Ben wants to be the starting quarterback and the one thing standing in his way is the coach's son.
Shawn O'Brien looks the part. He has been groomed by his father, a former professional quarterback. But despite his size and arm strength, Shawn is struggling.
Ben is torn between being a good teammate and going after his own dream. As Ben finds out, Shawn isn't the easiest person to help. And when Ben gets an unexpected opportunity, the entire game will change for the both of them.
Best-selling author Mike Lupica kicks off a winning new series about sports and friendship that will captivate readers.
What I Liked: I mean, it has everything I like in a good sports book. I especially appreciated the unique man vs. self conflict (see, English class does have some sort of purpose) because Ben is sort of fighting with himself on the right thing to do and can never agree at some times. As a teen trying to understand literature "at a different level", I found that this unique conflict pushed the book along by providing another obstacle for Ben to fight through. Another cool thing I liked was the surprise twist at the end. As the book's rolling along, you tend to be able to predict how the ending will be, and this book led me along a path which I would say would be generic, boring, and something that was definitely rant-worthy, however, the ending did shock me, and proved once again how well Mike Lupica can write.
What I Didn't Like: I think one thing I didn't like is that the book was just to generic and boring. Sure, it was a fun read, but if you've ever read Tim Green, you can see how there's more thought into each character, every thing is a little more intense, and it caters to older and younger readers. This book was just too basic for me. All the characters were kind of eh, like they were there but they could've been that much better. If anything, I would say this is more of a potential book than a say, full on Sports book, a beginner book rather than a book for those who are just finished with freshman year of high school.
Rating: 8.0 out of ten
Why? Solid book, just didn't have the meat and potatoes I was looking for.