By: Mike Lupica
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: May 2012
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: March 22, 2012
Ben McBain likes football. No, actually he LOVES football and can't get enough of the sport. Together with his friends Coop, Sam, and Lily, he plays every chance he gets - at school, after school, on the weekends. And this year, the eleven-year-old has high hopes for his team, the Rockwell Rams, because the new coach, Matt O'Brien, was a college football star and even played for the Colts for a few years. This will be the year they go all the way to the championships!
Ben's dream is to be starting quarterback and this will be the third year he tries out for the coveted position. He has the speed, he has the throwing arm, but he doesn't have the size. Ben meets the weight requirement by a whopping one pound and his height? Well, let's just say he doesn't tower over anybody. Then there's Shawn O'Brien, the son of Coach O'Brien. Shawn's father was a star quarterback and it looks like Shawn is on his way to being even better than his dad. Ben doesn't stand a chance. As expected, Shawn gets the prized position and Ben gets the pep talk from his coach.
As the season progresses, it becomes apparent to Ben, and others on the team, that while Shawn may have the talent, he doesn't have the love of the game that Ben has. Plus, he's got one heck of a temper. Ben tries, much to his friends' disapproval, to befriend Shawn and help him, but the guy just doesn't seem to want any help. He'd rather storm off the field during an important game than help his team win. Ben has some difficult decisions to make, decisions that will change the game for him and everybody else on the team.
Game Changers is a story that will get all young football fans involved and caring about the story of Ben McBain. There is a lot of action between the pages, with great plays and interesting strategy throughout. The friendships are real and the aggravation Ben feels while trying to figure out just what is going on with Shawn will connect with many readers. While at times Ben seems wise beyond his years, for the most part, he's a young man who football fans will relate to. This is a perfect book to get sports fans, who might be reluctant to read, involved in a good book.
Quill says: A fun sports tale that will keep even the reluctant reader turning the pages.