LAST MAN OUT by Mike Lupica

LAST MAN OUT

Age Range: 10 - 14
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A middle school football player grieves his father’s death both on and off the field.

Tommy Gallagher, defensive star “monster back” (a flexible position that can shift between safety and linebacker as necessary to make big plays), is having a phenomenal game when tragedy strikes: his firefighter father doesn’t make it out of a burning building in time. Tommy has a strong support system but struggles to see that he’s bottling up his emotions and then releasing them in unhealthy ways playing. Once he understands this, however, he then starts erring the other way, playing football with too much hesitancy and not enough joy. His path to overcoming grief is not linear, punctuated instead with believable backslides. Meanwhile, his soccer-star younger sister deals in a different way, shutting down completely and even leaving her sport. Uniting, they see reflections of their father in each other. Serviceable writing sometimes veers into cheesy or repetitive territory but is strongest in its depiction of Tommy’s emotional tunnel-vision and—of course—in the football itself, where the analytic intellect and pattern recognition required for reading offenses proves quarterbacks aren’t the only brains on the field. Aside from white, Irish-American Tommy, racial markers are mostly absent, and the characters mostly come from Boston’s largely white Brighton neighborhood (fans of other teams should be warned that Patriots references abound).

Believable pain and recovery against a solid football backdrop. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-399-17279-3
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2016




MORE BY MIKE LUPICA

ChildrenTHE EXTRA YARD by Mike Lupica
by Mike Lupica
ChildrenFAST BREAK by Mike Lupica
by Mike Lupica
ChildrenTHE ONLY GAME by Mike Lupica
by Mike Lupica

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenFOOTBALL HERO by Tim Green
by Tim Green
ChildrenKID OWNER by Tim Green
by Tim Green
ChildrenCRACK COACH by Steven Sandor
by Steven Sandor