September 9th 2014 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Alex Myers moves to a new town because his parents are divorcing, and finds, to his dismay, that the football position he plays, and is good at, is taken by the coach’s son. He’s not alone—there are other players who are not going to be able to play quarterback not so much because of Matt Gordon (who has some weakness in his throwing abilities) but because of Coach Gordon. No one doubts Coach’s results, but his methods leave something to be desired. In fact, one of his rules is that NO ONE questions his plays or his judgement. When Alex is nearly badly injured by a member of another team because of a call the Coach makes, the school newspaper runs an article about it, resulting in the reporter being banned and the coach (and newspaper editor) being fired. Alex is struggling with the move, missing his father, having a crush on a girl reporter who thinks he’s an entitled jock, and dealing with the politics of the team, but when he is accused of something he knows he did not do, he fights back with the help of his reporter friend as well as his teammates.
Strengths: SO glad that Feinstein has ended the series of reporting mysteries and moved on to things like Foul Trouble and this. This was very good. The fact that Alex is a high school freshman on the varsity team, the relationship with the girl who won’t give him the time of day romantically, the coach who is evil but has a son with integrity—I enjoyed it very much. There were a lot of football details, some of which I didn’t know about or understand, but that makes it all the better for my fans of sports fiction. Should probably buy two copies, since this looks to be a three book series.
Weaknesses: Don’t want to spoil things, but when Alex was accused of doing something bad, it was almost too much. Things were progressing nicely in the story, and that added a huge level of complexity that wasn’t quite necessary. A topic sports readers like, however, so big problem.