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Game Changers

Review

Game Changers

Ben McBain is a talented young athlete and a consummate team player who is cool and calm under pressure and thinks on his feet. The 11-year-old can handle almost any position on the football field, but more than anything, he wants to be the starting quarterback. While Ben has the heart and ability for the position, he falls short in the height department and barely makes the weight requirement to be on the team.

"GAME CHANGERS is an inspiring book about teamwork, friendship, loyalty and father-son relationships. This first book in the series should appeal to sports-minded young readers, especially boys who love football or other team sports."

Yet Ben refuses to give up on his dream. He knows all about the game, the plays and the players, including famous short athletes who have become football stars. Doug Flutie is his hero. While Ben’s father, Jeff McGain, was a student at Boston College, he played with Heisman Trophy winner Flutie, who at 5’9” is a football legend.

Ben and his best friends, Coop, Sam and Lily, are students at Rockwell Middle School. The friends call themselves the core four. The three boys play for the Rockwell Rams on a Pop Warner team, while Lily supports them on and off the field. 

During tryouts, Ben has high hopes that he will be picked as the starter. He knows the plays, has all the moves and deserves the role, but the new coach has other plans. Coach Matt O’Brien is a former college football star who played as a backup NFL quarterback. The coach is grooming his son Shawn to be Rockwell’s starting quarterback, in spite of Shawn’s shortcomings and lack of desire for the role. 

Ben is a model player. In fact, he’s almost too good to be true. He is torn between realizing his dream and working for the good of the team. In conversations with Coach O’Brien, Ben handles his disappointments like a pro. A true team player, he refuses to let his teammates down, even if he has to put aside his own desire to be quarterback. In many scenes, Ben seems much older and wiser than his 11 years.

New York Times bestselling author Mike Lupica knows how to build tension and suspense, most notably with his play-by-play action scenes and descriptions of the football games. GAME CHANGERS is an inspiring book about teamwork, friendship, loyalty and father-son relationships. This first book in the series should appeal to sports-minded young readers, especially boys who love football or other team sports.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on July 28, 2012

Game Changers
by Mike Lupica

  • Publication Date: July 30, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction, Sports
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • ISBN-10: 0545381797
  • ISBN-13: 9780545381796