HOME OF THE BRAVES by David Klass

HOME OF THE BRAVES

Age Range: 12 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

While better written and more psychologically complex than most sports fiction, this compelling offering still follows a standard sports plot: the main character feels threatened by a new, outstanding player on his team. Joe Brickman, a senior at a suburban high school, is captain of his mediocre soccer team and its best player. When Antonio, a Brazilian pro, transfers to Joe’s high school and takes up with Kris, the girl Joe likes but hasn’t pursued, Joe’s life takes a nose-dive. The team starts winning but Antonio gets all the praise, while Kris acts silly and snobbish due to her new relationship. Meanwhile, other students including Joe’s closest friend are dealing on a daily basis with vicious bullying, mainly from football players. As narrator, Joe sounds modest but in fact he’s unusually physically fit, good with people, and likable, although almost unbelievably tactless when dealing with Kris. He’s so clearly courageous that his modesty appears exaggerated, saying things like, “The best way to face danger is to meet it head-on,” as he goes to confront the school’s most dangerous bully. Soccer fans will enjoy the sports action, while other readers will find the setting convincing and the story engaging. It’s too bad that the females are so weak: Kris is passive and gullible; Joe’s mother deserted her husband and son years earlier; and Joe’s father’s new girlfriend carelessly betrays a confidence. While it lacks the brilliance and humor of Klass’s You Don’t Know Me (2001), overall this is a solid school and sports story that will find a ready audience. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 2002
ISBN: 0-374-39963-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2002




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