Loosely based on real-life stories of football players who didn’t look the part, this tale of confident persistence will ring true for all the kids who have been told they’re too small or too female.
Jesse Wagner doesn’t look like a quarterback. His friend Savannah doesn’t look like a kicker, mostly because she’s a girl. Despite the fact they don’t look like the types of players to excel at their chosen positions, with lots of practice and innate talent, they lead their freshman football team, the Panthers, through a great season. While Jesse and his friends work hard on their home field, Jesse’s brother, Jay, does his best in his new position on the field at Dartmouth College. Bowen, author of a couple dozen middle school novels based on sports, offers a tale for the reluctant reader who is captivated by football. There’s plenty of descriptive action on the field and even a few diagrams of different key plays to enhance the text. Readers whose interests lie elsewhere might not be as excited, since character development is minimal, and every relationship maintains a steady, conflict-free path that lacks tension. The simple sentences and basic vocabulary of this novel will be attractive to struggling readers.
An apt choice to surprise a young football fan with the power of words. (Fiction. 8-12)