Friday, August 18, 2017

Guy Friday

33544812Moore, Steve. Control Freak: King of the Bench #2
September 12th 2017 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

In No Fear, Steve warms the bench for baseball, he gets roped into being on the football team. He has no athletic ability, but he does have something that may benefit the team and help them make the championships-- he has an old video game controller that he suspects might be magic, and he uses it to control his teammates on the field when things get bleak. He's not entirely sure, mind you, but it seems like the controller does work on people. Steve manages to get a position as "place kick holder", mainly because Becky O'Callahan is the place kicker, and Steve has an enormous crush on her. The Mighty Plumbers struggle through their season, but Steve becomes increasingly worried about using the controller-- whenever he does, it might win points, but it seems to result in an injury to a team member. By the end of the season, things are so desperate that Steve is sent in. He begs a friend to get the controller out of his closet, injuries be damned, and manages to do quite well. Was it the controller, or his own skill?
Strengths: Steve is realistically goofy, and the story progresses in a logical fashion with lots of non sequitur asides that are meant just to be funny. The coach and Steve's team mates are goofy, as are the teams they play against. The controller is handled in a way that makes sense-- it doesn't really control people, does it? Or... can it? Steve know better, yet had his reasons for believing. Goofy, yes, but in a way that I think middle grade readers can appreciate. If Timmy Failure is popular in your library, this is a must read!
Weaknesses: This was a bit on the goofy side for me-- the names irritated me. Coach Earwax? The Enron Middle School Screaming Bulls? Sigh.
What I really think: We need a lot more books like this-- notebook novels about sports that actually have a plot, no matter how slight. Every elementary library and most middle school libraries need this title.

Ms. Yingling


  1. OK, you've convinced me! I've got to see if we have copies of this.

  2. I knew I'd be adding this to my buy list from the cover alone. They love this kind of stuff, thanks.