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Crackback Hardcover – November 1, 2005

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 490L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1ST edition (November 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439697336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439697330
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #435,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up–Coy takes the topic of football and weaves it in and out of other conflicts typical of teenage boys such as father/son relationships, girls, steroids, and realizing that there is more to life than just the game. Miles is a likable and talented player who tries to please everyone: coaches, his father, his teachers, and the girl he is interested in. Regardless of his efforts or his talents, he can't seem to satisfy his coach and winds up on the bench where he meets, and likes, the second-string players who have lives outside of football–something that has never occurred to Miles or his father. In addition, he refuses to take steroids, even though his teammates do. Through his struggles with his coach and his dad, he begins to learn that life is complicated and that answers don't always come in the form of X's and O's. The family secret that drives his father, the interesting girl who shows him that the world is a big place, and the intense, sometimes unbelievable coach who teaches him that you can't please some people, no matter what, give Miles a new, perhaps healthier, perspective. Boys will appreciate the well rounded characters and the plot that mixes sports with real life. It doesn't hurt that there is some great football action throughout.–Julie Webb, Shelby County High School, Shelbyville, KY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 8-11. Sophomore football star Miles is excited about his strong team's chances in the new season. Then his favorite coach resigns, and Miles chafes under the new coach, who favors phrases such as "This isn't a democracy. This is a dictatorship, and I'm the Dick." Miles feels alienated from his teammates at school, who have turned to steroids, and also at home, with his angry father. In his first novel, the author of several picture books, including Strong to the Hoop (1998), writes a moving, nuanced portrait of a teen struggling with adults who demand, but don't always deserve, respect. A subplot involving a school assignment about family roots and the Middle Passage feels somewhat patched on, but Coy connects the story's diverse elements--family secrets, his father's rage and homophobia, a burgeoning romance, football, and shifting friendships--in a loose jumble that, like Miles' strong first-person voice, is sharply authentic, open-ended, and filled with small details that signify larger truths. For another powerful look at the emotional lives of male teen athletes, suggest A. M. Jenkins' Damage (2001). Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

Amazing it was a great book I would recommend it to anyone who likes sports or football.
Brandon Mohrhoff
When he finds out that his best friend is willing to do anything to win, including taking steroids, Miles must decide where he stands.
Teen Reads
This book is about a kid name Miles Manning who is a starter at Wide Receiver for his varsity football team at 5'11'' and 155 pounds.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on November 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
CRACKBACK aptly describes the action on and off the field in this debut novel by John Coy. A crackback block comes from the outside and it can destroy you if you're not careful. Miles Manning, a junior and a star football player, is blindsided by some crushing blows that seem to come out of nowhere.

Miles is under a lot of pressure. He is a starter on a winning football team that is favored to win the conference and have a chance to go to state. Everyone is pressuring Miles to be bigger, stronger and faster, including his pushy new head coach, his demanding father, and his best friend. They all expect more of Miles than he may be able to deliver. When he finds out that his best friend is willing to do anything to win, including taking steroids, Miles must decide where he stands.

Woven into the plot are details about a long-hidden family secret that explains why Miles's father expects so much of him. If his junior year isn't tough enough, he also has to navigate the rocky waters of teenage romance. His friends have ideas of who he should go out with, but Miles has to decide who is really right for him.

John Coy, who is both a teacher and a writer, obviously knows football, and CRACKBACK is filled with nail-biting drama from the football field. The novel, written in first person, made me feel like I was in each game --- even though I've never played football in my life. Football fans will pass a copy of this great catch to their friends when they finish it!

--- Reviewed by Renee Kirchner ([...])
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Finally, authors are trying to relate to young men! This book occurs in a current high school setting and deals with a few of the problems young men actually face in today's world. The main character, Miles, is a star football player as a junior when his world begins to change. His best friend since elementary school begins taking steriods to improve his football performance and pressures Miles to do the same. The head coach has to quit, because he has cancer and can no longer coach while going through treatments. The assistant coach takes over with a completely different philosophy of coaching, and Miles finds himself on the fast track to becoming a scrub player--standing and watching instead of playing. Miles develops a new friendship with another fellow scrub player, chases after his first girl, deals with persistent pimples, and other similar pressures of teenage life.

One reason I particularly liked this book is the relationship between Miles and his dad. Miles' dad seems to always pick on him and pick at him just like many real fathers do to their own sons. Towards the end of the book, the behavior of Miles' father is explained somewhat. Unfortunately, most young men in real life never learn why their own dads are so rough on them. I think this book deals with several of the hardships and dramas facing young men and really am glad to see this type of book becoming popular!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Marc fiore on August 17, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved crackback by John Coy. It is about a teen, Miles Manning, who is a very skilled football player, but when a new coach steps in he has to make very difficult desisions. Some decisions include taking steriods with his best friend, doing things the coach's way, and hanging out with girls. Miles' dad was always very hard on him about football,school, and girls. Later on in the story Miles is shocked to find out he had an older brother that died as a baby. By telling Miles this, him and his dad become closer to eachother. It's the last game of the season and there up by one. Miles is supposed to stay back and cover for the fake, but instead goes for the block and wins the game, sending the Eagles to the playoffs. Even though they won, Coach Stahl is mad because Miles didnt listen and he gets benched for the the playoffs. Uaually Miles' dad would yell at him for not listening to the coach, but now he acctually sides with miles on this one, and everything turns out well. I higly suggest reading this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ken C. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
As a debut YA effort, I can't fault John Coy's CRACKBACK for trying. In fact, it shows hints of bigger things to come, but ultimately I think this novel will please most its niche audience only -- middle school-aged boys who love football. I plan to offer it to my students who claim they don't read because reading's too boring because I think this will be of interest to them if they love playing football.

Many other young readers will be disappointed or ambivalent about this book, however, as I was. Most notable to me was the overabundance of short, simple sentences in rather large font. They actually slowed me down because I wasn't able to get into any reading rhythm due to the "staccato-like" diction. My advice to Coy would be to mix it up with some longer sentences and paragraphs now and then.

I also thought the characterizations of both the protagonist's (Miles Manning's) father and one of his coaches (Coach Stahl) were too similar and too much like cardboard cutouts of creeps. There was an attempt at the end to salvage the father, but it just didn't go over so well. The good coach (Coach Sepolski), good teacher (Mr. Halloran), good little sister (Martha) and good mother (Mom) all had small roles here, so they didn't help to distract me from the Tweedledee and Tweedledum aspects of Dad and Stahl.

The same is true for the other football players on the team -- minor roles, overall. A field goal for Coy on his knowledge of football, however. It does come across as realistic because he knows his sport. One plot development -- the issue of steroid use -- kind of fizzled after showing promise early on. Ditto the plot points surrounding evil Coach Stahl. The end on that count is as unrewarding as a tie game after overtime.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews

More About the Author

Hi, I'm the author of the picture books Night Driving, Strong to the Hoop, Vroomaloom Zoom, Two Old Potatoes and Me, and Around the World. Strong to the Hoop is also available in Spanish as Directo Al Aro and Two Old Potatoes and Me is available in Chinese.

I am a member of the NBA Reading All-Star Team as part of the Read to Achieve program. Crackback, my first young adult novel, is about high school football and my second, Box Out, is about high school basketball.

All four books in the 4 for 4 middle-grade series are now available: Top of the Order, Eyes on the Goal, Love of the Game, and Take Your Best Shot. The books follow four friends who love sports as they navigate the changes between elementary school and middle school with plenty of surprises.

I am currently working on a new YA novel and several picture books. I live in Minneapolis and visit schools nationally and internationally.

Check out for more information, and yes, it's fine to use the material for author studies.

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