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Summary: Rocky Fletcher plays wide receiver for the Pythons. When he and his best friend Bobby were horsing around in the locker room, Bobby slipped and broke his leg, ending his season. Rocky was embarrassed and guilty, even though Bobby initiated the ruckus. Bobby used Rocky’s friendship and guilt to take advantage of Rocky. Rocky knew Bobby was manipulating him but didn't know how to fix it. Sooner or later they will reach the breaking point and then …. This title in the Matt Christopher series uses football to get kids thinking about choices, friendship, conflict, and team.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 9 and up
Interest Level: 9 to 12
Reading Level: 4
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: The author clearly understands the angst - real and imagined - that adolescents experience as they pass through this phase of their lives. This is a good story, in and of itself, but also serves as a realistic discussion starter for students.
Pros: This is a story about friendship, meanness, jealousy, caring, responsibility, and, oh yes, junior high school football. The book is an enjoyable read because the characters and plot are so familiar to the reader.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. Pre-teens and teens will see themselves (and their peers) in the characters, making it an easy book to connect with. Don’t let the paperback format and glitz turn you away, this is a respectable and helpful guide for students, parents, and teachers.
Educational Themes: “Adolescence” and all the thoughts and feelings that the topic conjures up are considered in this story. The characters are recognizable, the plots are thoughtful and provoking and the pace is quick-time from beginning to end.