I think this looks like the start of an exceptional series for boys up to about age 13, although in my experience most kids in that age group tend to want to read about children slightly older than themselves. My 17 year old grandson, who is, like the rest of the family, a football fanatic, had no interest in the book due to the main characters being only 11 years old. And, I have to admit, the age of the characters rather surprised me, as this book could easily have been translated to JV football level, which would only enhance its appeal to a larger age group. The author, Mike Lupica, knows the game and seems to understand boys of the age group covered in the book -- there is no "mushy love-stuff," even though there is a female character. I have to admit to a prejudice against books that try to promote "romances" between children and I found having a genuine friendship between the sexes very refreshing.
The basic plot outline is the friendship between two young players -- Ben McBain and Shawn O'Brien. Ben is a natural football player, who understands the game intellectually and has the physical prowess to play almost any position. He wants to fullfill every football - loving young boy's dream, however -- he wants to be the quarterback, only he is much smaller than most boys his age that play that coveted position. Shawn is the son of the coach, who was a professional player and a quarterback. The problem is that Shawn doesn't have Ben's instincts and is struggling. He asks Ben for help in improving his game, and Ben wants to help while at the same time wanting to fulfill his own dream of the being the team's QB. The boys are presented pretty realistically and are for the most part appealing. Ben could have come off as somewhat of a goody-goody but due to the skill of the author just seems very human. And Shawn does as well, having the burden of being the son of the coach who also happens to be a famous player. I highly recommend this book as a gift to boys who are interested in football or other sports.