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by Mike Lupica

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-399-24626-5
Publisher: Philomel

No matter how complicated things get, Nate Brodie, 13, can always count on the power and accuracy of his football arm. Until, suddenly, he can’t, just when he’s won the opportunity to score $1,000,000 if he can throw a football through a 20-inch hole during the televised halftime break at a Patriots game. Normally, this feat, though difficult, would be within his remarkable abilities, and he would find fun in the challenge. But tension has been building for a while, sapping his confidence, and his arm is really showing it. The recession has taken a toll on the Brodies, and Nate’s family, now in financial distress, could really use the money. Nate is also upset because his adored best friend Abby is rapidly going blind. Sadly, Abby is both a perfect and perfectly unbelievable character, and the scenes with her are mawkish and icky. Still, Lupica’s football action engages, and his delineation of the athlete’s thought process and emotional highs and lows of competition feels visceral and real. (Fiction. 10 & up)