Sandor, Steven. Replay
1 October 2013, Lorimer
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Warren Chen wants to play football even though he is rather small, and he doesn't have a lot of time. His family runs the Jade Garden restaurant, and he is expected to work there after school. He works really hard to show the coach of the Sexsmith Shamrocks that he can be a good player, and he is helped by the understanding team captain, Brad. He is first made a kicker, but then allowed to play, and makes a fantastic touch down-- only, he doesn't. Warren is tackled just a foot from the goal line, but does a victory dance, and the referee believes that he made the touch down. Not only does Warren know the truth, but a girl he likes, Brigid, has a photo showing he didn't score, and blackmails him into doing her homework. Warren's father is proud of his son's playing ability, and even makes it to a game when the restaurant should be very busy, so Warren doesn't want to confess. He does tell Brad, and the two mull over whether helping the team is worth the guilt. Warren has to decide whether or not to come clean, and will have to deal with the consequences either way.
Strengths: This is a short book that packs a wallop with lots of football action, lots of details about Warren's family, and lots of psychological angst about being a good teammate and a good person. There is even a football glossary in the back that covers the differences between Canadian and US football. I am really impressed by this publisher (which has also had some skateboarding books) and their books, and am thrilled to have an Asian football player on the cover.
Now that it's over, however, I am looking forward to more sleep and more time for reading Cybils' nominations!