Age Range: 13 - 15
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 A sudden friendship with an older woman gets a small-town football hero through a tough transition in this introspective story from Shoup (Wish You Were Here, 1994). Fully equipped with a loyal buddy, a passionate cheerleader girlfriend, a stable home, an offer of a football scholarship, and a prosperous used-car business to inherit from his father, Lucas looks beyond his senior year and feels the town of Harmony, Indiana, closing in on him. His performance on and off the field slides, and he demonstrates a new talent for rubbing everyone the wrong way. Lucas finds a needed confidante in Allie Bowen, a new resident who shares his taste for '60s music. Offering both a sympathetic ear and hard-earned wisdom as (she eventually confesses) a Vietnam Warera terrorist who did time for murder, she helps him weather a series of crises, from the realization that he no longer wants to play football to his blackly humorous panic attack following a night of unprotected sex. Unlike Rich Wallace's Wrestling Sturbridge (1996), the sports action is downplayed; Lucas focuses less on external events than on his own anger and turmoil, so dramatic tension builds largely on the emotional plane--unusual in a teen novel with a male protagonist. Lucas manages to loosen the ties that bind him to Harmony, and is last seen not in rebellion, but comfortably contemplating his many options--a true '90s ending. (Fiction. 13-15)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-7868-0287-1
Page count: 214pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997