A star athlete struggles to cope with changes in his coach’s behavior that could have ramifications on and off the field.
Colt, star defensive player and captain of his Edmonton, Alberta, high school football team, is a hardworking, clean-hitting football player. He thought that was what he needed to do to win and to please his coach, who also happens to be the white teen’s dad. Lately, though, little seems to satisfy his father, either on or off the field. It doesn’t help that Colt’s Asian-Canadian girlfriend, Andrea Wong, covers the team for the school paper and seems determined to ask questions Coach does not want to answer. When his dad insists that he and the other defensive players engage in a dangerous hit on an opponent, Colt is torn, though his main rival on the team has no such compunction. As the season continues and the pressure to win mounts, Colt is forced to make decisions that could place him in direct opposition to his father. This straightforward sports story, part of a series for reluctant readers, tackles both the long-term effects of concussions and the pressures of high school sports. The characters are not very complex, and Coach’s change of heart seems abrupt considering his earlier behavior. However, the football action is well-told, and members of the team sound authentic.
A useful addition that will encourage sports fans. (Fiction. 10-13)