Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Walk On by John Feinstein

His parents are divorcing, he's going to a new school as a freshman, and he's a very good quarterback.  It's very disappointing to be the third string quarterback in the new school.  It's probably not going to improve, though.  After all, the coach's son is the primary quarterback...

Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It was published September 9th, so look for a copy at your local bookstore now.

This coach is a bully.  He's been the coach for years, has won lots of games, and most folks have forgotten his first name and just call him "Coach".  He has no intention to put a freshman in the varsity game unless there is no other choice.  As long as his son is in there playing, he's happy.

He makes the boys run extra laps or climb stairs as punishment for being late or not following his orders.  Anybody that disagrees with him gets in big trouble.  He even fires the other athletic coach because he let the school paper be published with an article that said perhaps the coach was a bit out of line by slaughtering the other school with a score of 77-0.  The coach gave him a choice of football or the paper and he took journalism instead of coaching.

Alex gets a little playing time but only because Matt has worked to get him in the game.  His father might be mean and not well-mannered but the son is a nice guy and befriends Alex.  When Matt gets hurt and the second string quarterback gets hurt, too, the coach has no choice except to play Alex.  Alex wins the game, but it doesn't make the coach happy.

They are in the play-offs and Alex is still the quarterback.  He's pumped and ready to go.  They have a blood test for steroids and get ready for the next game.  Alex is stunned when he's told he tested positive and is suspended from the team.  It's not true!  But how can he prove it?

This would be a good book for young men to read.  I like football and understood the nuances of the story and any girl who plays a sport would probably relate to it, too.  There's enough action to keep you going and you celebrate Alex's plays as the games go on.  The resolution to Alex's problem was appropriate and heartbreaking both.  This is a great sports book for the young athlete in your family.

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