THE HEARTBEAT OF HALFTIME by Stephen Wunderli

THE HEARTBEAT OF HALFTIME

Age Range: 11 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Wunderli (Blue Between the Clouds, 1992) turns on the afterburners in this wild tale of a mediocre junior high football team whose players propel themselves into the championship, fueled by anger, grief, and desire. With only two wins--and those were flukes--in the last couple of years, Wing, Sparky, Taco Bell, and the rest of the Olympus Titans have built a solid losing tradition, but the addition of a new coach and a crazed middle linebacker (dubbed ``Spray Can'' for his lisp) changes the chemistry drastically. Everyone suddenly discovers something to prove--particularly Wing, the narrator, who is watching with fury his once robust father die of cancer. A string of exciting victories ensues, capped by a glorious championship game and an equally glorious food fight. With its belching contests and other vulgar behavior, broadly drawn characters, and a hilarious, disgusting pregame ritual, this is not a story for delicate sensibilities, but Wing's relationship with his father is thoughtfully handled, as is the way he comes to terms with his rage and grief. It's predictable, TV-movie fodder, but unusually vivid, thanks to some strong emotions and plenty of action. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-8050-4713-1
Page count: 182pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1996




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