In a homespun style, this autobiography showcases co-author Gordon, a 9-year-old football phenom whose first-season highlight reel became an overnight YouTube sensation.
Sam is charming, from her admiration for her coaches to her continual ability to beat the odds against more experienced competitors. Co-author Bruening allows Sam’s youthful voice to shine in endearing moments, such as her repeated reflections on the free food available at many of the publicity events she has attended. However, Bruening fails to supplement Sam’s recollections with factual information. The conspicuous absence of specific dates makes understanding Sam’s timeline of sports experiences challenging, and few comparisons are included to help non–football enthusiasts (clearly part of the target audience) understand the significance of her football statistics. Additionally, the book merely skims important factors contributing to her success, like her agility training with a former NFL player. Readers of a book subtitled Samantha Gordon’s Winning Season will expect a focus on Sam’s experiences leading up to and during her first football season, but media-appearance memories sometimes dominate. Unfortunately, they often read like celebrity guest lists, a problem compounded by the frequently redundant sidebars.
Overall, Sam’s voice is authentic and her sports talent undeniable, so her existing young fan base may enjoy reading more about her path to fame. (Memoir. 9-11)