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Pop [Paperback]

Gordon Korman
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 1 2010
Gordon Korman's acclaimed and timely YA novel explores the dangerous side of high school sports.

Marcus is new in town and is hoping to make the championship high school football team, but it seems like a closed club, run by current star Troy.

One day, while tossing the ball around in a park, Marcus meets Charlie, a man in his fifties who can play football like an old pro, which is exactly what he happens to be — a former NFL player and local celebrity. Charlie has boundless energy and coaches Marcus on his fear of being tackled, but as Marcus becomes more involved in this friendship it becomes painfully obvious to him, through the simplicity of Charlie's thoughts, that the long-term effects of the violent plays he suffered during his glory days have taken their toll.

With wit and sensitivity, Gordon Korman tackles truths about high school sports and the quirky, yet poignant friendship that develops between Marcus and Charlie.


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Review

Praise for Pop:

"A frank examination of the potential consequences of contact sports... [Pop] will definitely please any young reader who likes a good, scrappy sports story where jockstrap gags energetically collide with thoughtful revelations." —The Globe and Mail

About the Author

When he was only 12-years-old, Gordon Korman's first novel, This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall!, was published by Scholastic Canada. To date Gordon has written 70 middle-grade and YA fiction novels, including two titles in the #1 New York Times bestselling series The 39 Clues. Gordon lives in Great Neck, New York.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating-- And I'm hardly a football fan! April 26 2012
Format:Library Binding
A librarian recommended this book to me. I was hesitant on the subject matter, but like other reviewers, I quickly got sucked into the characters. Gordon Korman has an incredible, unique style of writing that leaves lots to the imagination. I couldn't put this book down. Highly recommend!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Feb. 13 2010
If I was asked to write a one word review for POP by Gordon Korman, I would write - Fantastic! Once readers start passing this one around, it may never touch a bookshelf again.

Quarterback want-to-be Marcus Jordan is packed up and moved to the mountains of New York state by his divorced mother. It's no big loss in the dad department considering he refers to his father as Comrade Stalin. He knows he and his mother are better off out of Kansas and on their own, but it's the summer before his junior year, and his dream of playing varsity quarterback may not survive the move.

With no friends yet to occupy his time and definitely no fellow football companions to work out with, Marcus heads to the local city park to create his own workout. He is attempting some passing practice when a burly, middle-aged guy shows up and sprints into the park and picks off one of his passes. Before he knows it, the guy is putting him through his paces. They are passing the ball like crazy and then running patterns and hitting each other like it's the biggest game of the season. And then the guy is gone.

Marcus learns the man's name is Charlie. Without any regular schedule or plan, they start working out together in the park. Charlie just sort of shows up - maybe one day, but not the next, and rarely ever at the same time. Even with crazy and unreliable appearances, the time Marcus spends with Charlie is really improving his game.

Whenever Marcus tries to find out exactly who Charlie is, he runs into a roadblock. Their time together is basically all about football - until the day a wild pass ends up crashing through the side window of a car parked along the street.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Pop" in and pick this up! Sept. 25 2009
This is one of the best G.K. books I have ever read. Very moving. Well worth a look.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read Dec 9 2009
By baltimore book love - Published on Amazon.com
I started reading this book one night and two hours later and way past midnight I was still turning pages. What may be even more unusual about that is that I am hardly Gordon Korman's target audience. I'm a middle-aged woman, albeit a football fan. Marcus and Charlie are great characters. You can feel Marcus's anguish at being the new kid in town, school, and team. You get a sense of Charlie trying to hang on to the last shreds of himself. For adults, the story may be a bit precious in places. All the pieces fit together a little too neatly, and we're never in doubt that in the end there will be a big game and it will be up to Marcus to win it. That's hardly a spoiler, but there's a lot more to the ending and it's a surprise. Young teen boys should really enjoy this story. It would be great for slightly younger kids too, but there is some kissing and sexual innuendo.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smash-Mouth Football, Feel-Good Reading Jan. 10 2010
By Ken C. - Published on Amazon.com
POP as a title contains a double meaning -- one, it is the nickname of Charlie Popovich, an ex-NFL star suffering from Alzheimer's, and two, it is the sound you get when you slam your helmet into someone in football. It comes as no surprise, but "Pop" likes to pop people, and our protagonist, Marcus Jordan, finds out the hard way when he meets the 50-something Charlie at the public park one day while tossing around a football. The unlikely meeting leads to regular practice between the old-timer and the youngster, who is new to town and anxious to try out for the undefeated high school team.

With plenty of football action, this book will appeal to reluctant readers as well as sports fans, but it also takes a social angle as Marcus learns that the high school quarterback whose job he covets is the son of Charlie and none too pleased that Marcus is a) angling for his starting QB job, and b) practicing football with his legendary dad at the park. What's worse, both Troy and his sister Chelsea are bent on keeping Charlie's condition -- Alzheimer's as a result of multiple concussions during his NFL career -- a secret. Want more for the mix? How about Alyssa, head cheerleader and looker who on-again/off-again dates Troy, taking up an interest in Marcus?

Veteran YA author Gordon Korman pulls all the levers in this book to maximize the entertainment value. There's some suspense, some humor, and some learning about an important disease neatly brought together in one package here. My one reservation is a common one in the YA field -- the lack of reality in some of the situations and events. The more important point, however, is that this book is compelling and equal parts sports, humor, and social drama -- a potent combination. Recommended.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Feb. 13 2010
By TeensReadToo - Published on Amazon.com
Gold Star Award Winner!

If I was asked to write a one word review for POP by Gordon Korman, I would write - Fantastic! Once readers start passing this one around, it may never touch a bookshelf again.

Quarterback want-to-be Marcus Jordan is packed up and moved to the mountains of New York state by his divorced mother. It's no big loss in the dad department considering he refers to his father as Comrade Stalin. He knows he and his mother are better off out of Kansas and on their own, but it's the summer before his junior year, and his dream of playing varsity quarterback may not survive the move.

With no friends yet to occupy his time and definitely no fellow football companions to work out with, Marcus heads to the local city park to create his own workout. He is attempting some passing practice when a burly, middle-aged guy shows up and sprints into the park and picks off one of his passes. Before he knows it, the guy is putting him through his paces. They are passing the ball like crazy and then running patterns and hitting each other like it's the biggest game of the season. And then the guy is gone.

Marcus learns the man's name is Charlie. Without any regular schedule or plan, they start working out together in the park. Charlie just sort of shows up - maybe one day, but not the next, and rarely ever at the same time. Even with crazy and unreliable appearances, the time Marcus spends with Charlie is really improving his game.

Whenever Marcus tries to find out exactly who Charlie is, he runs into a roadblock. Their time together is basically all about football - until the day a wild pass ends up crashing through the side window of a car parked along the street. Charlie disappears faster than Marcus believed possible, leaving him to write a note to the car owner promising to pay the repair bill. After that more strange things begin to happen. Marcus notices that when he and Charlie leave the park to grab a Gatorade or a bag of ice to ice down an injury, Charlie simply grabs what they need from a local store and leaves without paying a cent. Weird... but the weirdness is outweighed by the fantastic football knowledge Marcus is gaining from this awesome athlete.

As school starts that fall, Marcus finds it difficult to fit into the already stacked football roster. The team has a super reputation and is heading into a second undefeated season. There seems to be no hope that he will play quarterback. In his attempt to make friends and fit in with the team, Marcus learns that Charlie is the father of the team's star quarterback. It makes sense that such a great player would have a talented son, but Marcus also discovers that there is some sort of family secret and Charlie seems to be at the center of it.

Gordon Korman is at his best in POP. He has wrapped a tremendous amount into this fast-paced novel. In addition to football action, readers will experience Marcus's "new guy" frustration, emotions twisted by his parents' divorce, and the discovery of a horribly debilitating disease. Readers will find it difficult to stop reading once they have met Marcus and Charlie.

Run, don't walk, to the nearest library or bookstore to get a copy of POP.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
4.0 out of 5 stars POP by Gordon Korman Aug. 29 2014
By 7 Ezekiel C. - Published on Amazon.com
I got this book because i thought it was about football but when i started reading it i realized it was about more than just football.
Marcus moved to a small town in the dead of summer and before he knew it he had a reputation of getting in trouble but most of the time its not his fault. Charlie a middle aged man and Marcus meet in a park playing football. Charlie is the person getting Marcus in trouble.Charlie is a middle aged man that acts like he in high school. Charlie keeps harassing a local store owner but Marcus takes the fall because he realized
there is something wrong with Charlie. Charlie's son is the quarter back of the high school varsity football team and he is not the biggest fan of Marcus. Charlie thinks Marcus is one of his old football buddies
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Sports Action and a Superior Story Jan. 12 2010
By Karen Keyte - Published on Amazon.com
When sixteen-year-old Marcus Jordan moves to Kennesaw, New York, he doesn't exactly find a welcoming committee waiting for him. It's a little hard to make friends in the middle of the summer when you don't know anyone in town, so Marcus spends his days at Three Alarm Park, practicing his football skills alone and waiting for the school year to start.

It's while Marcus is honing his game that he finally makes a friend - an unlikely friend, but a friend nonetheless. Charlie is in his mid-fifties, but he's not like any adult Marcus has ever met. He loves pranks and he really loves football. And, after practicing with Charlie every afternoon, Marcus comes to love the `pop' of a hard tackle as much as the odd older man does.

When football tryouts start, Marcus is met with a wall of resistance. The team was undefeated last year, only graduated two seniors, and the coach has no desire to introduce a new player into the mix. Worse yet, starting quarterback Troy Popovich detests Marcus from the moment they meet and he doesn't try to hide it. When Marcus discovers that Charlie is Troy's dad - and a fourteen year veteran of the NFL - Troy's hostility and Charlie's juvenile behavior lead Marcus to discover a truth about Charlie that his family is desperate to hide.

Marcus vows to remain loyal to his friendship with Charlie, despite Troy's animosity. Even though Troy and his sister want Marcus to stay away from his father and out of their lives, he's not willing to abandon Charlie - even if it means putting his own future at risk.
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