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CRACKBACK by John Coy

CRACKBACK

By John Coy

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-439-69733-6
Publisher: Scholastic

Miles is excited about his junior-year football season. He knows the sport, loves playing defense and even though his father can be overbearing, he’s taught Miles basic skills and how to play smart and to respect the coach. Zach, who has been Miles’s best friend and teammate, is transforming himself, now. He’s not just bulking up, but passing out uppers and advocating shooting up steroids as something all players do. When the regular coach steps aside, belligerent inexperienced Coach Stahl takes over and Miles has to consider carefully how important is the sport to him and how much he wants to risk. Coy obviously knows the gridiron and uses crackback, a football term meaning a block coming from the outside and behind, to symbolize all the ways sudden changes or surprises in life can throw you for a loop. Coy makes fun of the stupid clichés that surround the sport while maintaining a strong love of the game, managing to integrate girlfriends, serious social history and family dynamics seamlessly. Most of the recent quality sports fiction has focused on basketball or wrestling, which makes this extra welcome. (Fiction. YA)