Maddox, Jake. Gridiron Showdown (Jake Maddox JV)
July 1st 2014 by Stone Arch Books
Jasper quit the football team at the end of seventh grade because he made a mistake on the field, and has spent the time just getting in trouble with his friends Charlene and Anton. After he gets in trouble for setting fireworks off on the football field, the principal sentences him to after school detention for two weeks, but also strongly suggests that he rejoin the football team in order to keep out of trouble. He does, only to find that Kyle has his position and delights in making fun of him for quitting the team and being out of shape. Jasper's parents are supportive of his rejoining the team, and slowly but surely, Jasper overcomes his teammates' jeers, gets back into shape, and keeps out of trouble.
Strengths: There are four books so far in the JV series from Stone Arch Books, and they will be great for students who have found success reading the younger books. For high interest, low level books, these are well written, although the characters seem to have more of their share of emotional upheaval.
Weaknesses: While the content is slightly more mature, the reading level and word count is about the same as the younger books, although they seem slightly longer. I was hoping for something a tiny bit longer and more complex to use to challenge students a little more. The covers are a big improvement on the series for younger readers, and there are fewer interior illustrations.
What I really think: I love these and I hate them. I love that my struggling readers can find success with these, and I hate it when readers who are perfectly capable of reading quality literature won't read anything else. These take me between 10-15 minutes to read, and yet sometimes readers will RENEW these books after two weeks. That worries me.