When a football coach–turned-principal enforces a new policy requiring every senior to join an athletic team, a group of self-professed geeks, oddballs, and other nonathletes creates a team that challenges the high school’s long-standing sports culture.
Seventeen-year-old Jack Logan’s father and older brothers are local football legends, but he has no interest in becoming an elite athlete. When “Becca the Brain” suggests fielding a soccer team, he is initially reluctant, but Becca’s plan is more about having fun than winning. Together they manage to find enough like-minded students to fill the roster, but with a goalie who falls asleep midgame and a player who speaks only in non sequiturs, they are an eclectic bunch. Their first game is a dismal failure, earning them a dressing-down from the principal and, oddly enough, a huge Internet following. The Losers touch a nerve, driving some to raucous enthusiasm and others to violence. The depiction of jock culture at “Muscles” High is disturbingly accurate, and Jack’s and Becca’s familial struggles are well-played. There is a lot to like here: humor, social commentary, and what it means to be a winner. But the too-easy ending feels rushed and false.
A victory, if of the minor sort. (Fiction. 12-16)