Game Changers #1: Game Changers Hardcover – May 8 2012
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Praise for the Game Changers series
"[A]n action-packed look at middle school sports as it explores issues of friendship, problem-solving, and coming-of-age. Sports fans will eat it up." —Kirkus(Game Changers Book 2: Play Makers)
"[E]ngaging . . . Lupica has a great ear for dialogue, and even the minor characters are fully developed. The tone is inspiring without crossing into didactism, and there is plenty of football action throughout." —School Library Journal (Game Changers)
Praise for Mike Lupica
"Lupica's football action engages, and his delineation of the athlete's thought process and emotional highs and lows of competition feels visceral and real." — Kirkus (Million Dollar Throw)
"Lupica is at his best when he puts the reader right in the center of the action." — Booklist (Summer Ball)
About the Author
MIKE LUPICA is a New York Times bestselling author of several books for young readers. His New York Daily News column is syndicated nationally. Mr. Lupica lives in Connecticut with his wife and their four children. You can visit Mike Lupica at www.mikelupicasbooks.com.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Once I began reading the book, I immediately had concerns about the main characters being ten-years-old. Those concerns were put to rest, however, when it became apparent that Lupica wrote them to sound far older. There were many times I felt as though they were college players, not pee-wee league. On the one hand, this bothered me to a certain extent. On the other hand, though, I reminded myself that the book wasn't written for a thirty-five-year-old, it was written fro young adults and children. Bearing this in mind, I think my students will better relate to it because the characters sound older than their dictated age.
I'd always heard Lupica wrote sports well. Now I know this to be true. His terminology is accurate and he achieved authentic pacing in regards to the games played. My athletes will really love that he got those things right.
Finally, I greatly appreciated the positive messages delivered within the book. Lupica makes a point to reinforce the importance of good sportsmanship, team chemistry, doing the right thing, and having loving relationships with family.
Though the dialogue of the characters seemed too sophisticated for the ages, I thought this book overall succeeded on many levels. I've already put it into the hands of a football player in my class and can't wait to get his take on it.
Game Changers revolves around the sport of football. It is not too difficult of a reading level. And the subject matter is sure to appeal to boys (or girls) who enjoy the sport. Mike Lupica writes knowledgeably about the sport. The book is clean and appropriate for the grade level. As is often the case in Mike Lupica books, there is a valuable lesson to be learned. And the story holds the interest of reluctant readers who are sports fans.
Like Heat, Game Changers introduces us to a hero so likable, that you find yourself in his corner early in the book. Ben McBain is a born quarterback: he loves football, he's understands the game, sees the entire field when he plays, he's quick, he's strong, and he brings his teammates together. Unfortunately, Ben is also much smaller than the usual quarterback, which means that few of the coaches or grownups see him as a natural for that position. Instead of whining about his luck, Ben plays smarter and he works harder than everyone else. Fortunately, he lives right next to a field which he and his three closest friends have dubbed McBain Field for all the hours they've spent there over the years.
The book opens with a new football season starting. Ben McBain is better than ever and he's excited for tryouts. Their new coach O'Brien is a superstar in his own right - he played for the NFL and cares about the kids. Unfortunately for Ben, the coach's son Shawn O'Brien is trying out for quarterback too. Shawn is bigger, stronger, and is a shoe-in for the position.
Invariably, Shawn becomes the starting quarterback. When Shawn plays well, he excels. But in tough times, Shawn gets nervous, he worries too much, and somehow he loses his game. Ben's friends see this as an opportunity for Ben to take over. But Shawn reaches out to Ben for his help and Ben soon finds himself spending his free time helping Shawn become a better quarterback. Shawn's sworn Ben to secrecy about their extra sessions. How much of a good guy does Ben have to be?
When can Ben finally tell his good friends what's going on? And can Ben ever use what he's learned to win the quarterback position for himself?
In Game Changers, Lupica puts Ben McBain through the wringer. Somehow, hard work, decency, and friends make things work out for the team, for Ben and even for Shawn. Game Changers combines football, friendship, loyalty, and a good story. I recommend it!
ISBN-10: 0545381827 - Hardcover $16.99
Publisher: Scholastic Press (May 8, 2012), 224 pages.
Review copy courtesy of Amazon Vine and the publisher.
In this book, Shawn is harder on himself when he messes up than anyone else can be. Instantly, my son identified with Shawn. Once my kid feels he's messed up in a game, the rest of the game is ruined for him. When he relaxes and enjoys what he's doing, he throws strike after strike after strike. People stop to stare as he pitches on his park and rec team. But, like Shawn, when the fun stops, so does his confidence and the good attitude goes right down the drain. Haydn and I paid special attention, due to this similarity, to how the character of Shawn was developed, and I was happy with the eventual growth and humility. I hope it helped my son to see himself on the pages of this story.
My only real complaint from me is a grammar issue. I have not noticed it in any of Lupica's previous novels. The word "said" seemed to be used every line. No one yelled or cried or told or interjected. They all "said." I started skipping the word and just reading the dialogue. Usually, you could tell who was talking without the said. Perhaps this only bothered me as a writer, and other readers may not even notice.
The story was great. We will definitely continue reading Mike Lupica's novels.