It's Superbowl Sunday! I'm sad that my beloved Pack didn't make it this year, but that doesn't mean we still can't have a list of football books.
Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach. The summer Felton finally has his growth spurt, he becomes big enough and fast enough that the football team takes notice and wants him to join. Felton has no problem spending all his time training and working-- it helps him not focus on the fact that his mother's had a nervous breakdown and it's up to him to try to hold his family together. Be sure to check off the sequel Nothing Special.
Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. DJ is a quiet girl in a family that doesn't talk. Due to her father's hip injury, her mother's work schedule, and her older brothers being away playing football, DJ is doing most of the work on her family's dairy farm. She's also secretly training the rival team's quarterback, and contemplating trying out of the team herself. You don't have to be a sports fan to enjoy DJs voice. The first in a trilogy, follow this title with The Off Season.
Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen. Danny's on the gymnastics team and knows how to get through the day with his head down, avoiding the bullying ways of the football team. When the football team does something horrible to one of Danny's teammates, he comes to know and be friends with one of the football players, Kurt. In a school and community where football rules all, these two young men find themselves caught in their defined roles, and have to break free to do what is right.
Pop by Gordon Korman. While practicing for football try-outs, new boy Marcus meets Charlie-- a middle-aged man and former NFL star. Charlie helps Marcus with his game and they become friends. But when Marcus makes the team, the quarterback is Charlie's son and Charlie has some issues the family doesn't want known. Marcus thinks he knows what's best for Charlie, but does he?
Shooting Star by Fred McKissak Jr. Jomo has the talent, but not the size. His coach puts him on a serious weight-training program, but the when the results don't happen fast enough, Jomo turns to steroids. His mother's gone and his father's drinking, but at least the college recruiters have started calling-- as long as he can keep his secret and keep it all together.
Running Loose by Chris Crutcher. Louie knows the hit that put the other player out of the game was intentional and unfair, but when he calls the coach out on it, Louie's the one off the team. But, it doesn't end there-- his principal is so upset about Louie's actions, he's been trying to come up with an excuse to suspend him ever since. Things hit rock bottom though, when Louie's girlfriend is killed in a car accident and he's left with no where to turn.
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally. Jordan is the captain and quarterback of her high school football team-- something that she loves doing and will hopefully get her to college. But then a new kid moves to town that threatens her space on the team. That would be bad enough, but he's also the first teammate that makes Jordan wish they didn't just see her as "one of the guys" and started to notice that she was a girl.
Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, And A Dream by H. D. Bissinger. Before the TV show, there was this book, chronicling the Permian Panthers of Odessa-- the most winningest high school football team in Texas history. Although published for adults, teens (and not just those who were fans of the show) will enjoy this modern non-fiction classic.
The Real All Americans by Sally Jenkins. Jenkins gives us the story of football's early days and the development of the game at the college level by focusing on the team at the Carlisle Indian School-- the team that gave us legendary figures like Jim Thorpe and Glenn "Pop" Warner. More than football, it's also a look at the troubling history of the Indian school system and attempts at forced "Americanization." Published for adults, teens will enjoy reading this title, especially the crazy antics of early football games and stories of the beginnings of what are no basic moves-- like a tight spiral.
Shut Out by Kody Keplinger. In this retelling of Lysistrata, the girls of Hamilton High are sick of the war between the football and soccer teams. Lissa, especially, cannot stand that her quarterback boyfriend keeps leaving her to pick fights with soccer players. So, she organizes the girls into a strike-- no more hooking up until they stop fighting. Lissa and the girls may have started an even bigger battle, because when it comes to high school libidos, who can hold out the longest-- the boys or the girls?
Who are you rooting for tonight? What are your football must-reads?
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