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Game Changers: Book 1 Hardcover – May 8, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-7-Ben McBain, 11, knows that he has what it takes to be a great quarterback, although he can't convince his coaches to see beyond his small stature. So he's not surprised when Coach O'Brien tells the team that his own son, Shawn, will get the position. Outwardly, Shawn has it all-the size, the arm, the speed. But he doesn't have a deep love for the game, and, when plays don't go perfectly, he spirals out of control. Determined to make the season the best it can be regardless of the position he plays, Ben tries to befriend the temperamental boy. Shawn slowly opens up about the pressure he feels from being coached by his father, a retired NFL player, and how he can't relax and enjoy the moment. When the team loses the first two games of the season and Coach O'Brien puts Ben in as quarterback halfway through the third game, the Rams go on to win. This is the start of a turnaround for the team, and further wins put the championship back in their sights. But as their team does better, Shawn retreats into sullenness and wants nothing to do with Ben. While the ending of this engaging story is predictable, Lupica has a great ear for dialogue, and even the minor characters are fully developed. The tone is inspiring without crossing into didacticism, and there is plenty of football action throughout.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

In praise of Game Changers

"Ben is a strong character, surrounded by a great group of sidekicks. Readers who, like Ben, live and breathe football, will enjoy." -Kirkus Reviews

"Lupica's football action engages, and his delineation of the athlete's thought process and emotional highs and lows of competition feels visceral and real." --Kirkus (Review of Million Dollar Throw)
"Lupica is at his best when he puts the reader right in the center of the action..." --Booklist (Review of Summer Ball)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 870L (What's this?)
  • Series: Game Changers (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (May 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545381827
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545381826
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #424,896 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Mike Lupica is one of the most prominent sports writers in America. His longevity at the top of his field is based on his experience and insider's knowledge, coupled with a provocative presentation that takes an uncompromising look at the tumultuous world of professional sports. Today he is a syndicated columnist for the New York Daily News, which includes his popular "Shooting from the Lip" column, which appears every Sunday. He began his newspaper career covering the New York Knicks for the New York Post at age 23. He became the youngest columnist ever at a New York paper with the New York Daily News, which he joined in 1977. For more than 30 years, Lupica has added magazines, novels, sports biographies, other non-fiction books on sports, as well as television to his professional resume. For the past fifteen years, he has been a TV anchor for ESPN's The Sports Reporters. He also hosted his own program, The Mike Lupica Show on ESPN2. In 1987, Lupica launched "The Sporting Life" column in Esquire magazine. He has published articles in other magazines, including Sport, World Tennis, Tennis, Golf Digest, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, ESPN: The Magazine, Men's Journal and Parade. He has received numerous honors, including the 2003 Jim Murray Award from the National Football Foundation. Mike Lupica co-wrote autobiographies with Reggie Jackson and Bill Parcells, collaborated with noted author and screenwriter, William Goldman on Wait Till Next Year, and wrote The Summer of '98, Mad as Hell: How Sports Got Away from the Fans and How We Get It Back and Shooting From the Lip, a collection of columns. In addition, he has written a number of novels, including Dead Air, Extra Credits, Limited Partner, Jump, Full Court Press, Red Zone, Too Far and national bestsellers Wild Pitch and Bump and Run. Dead Air was nominated for the Edgar Allen Poe Award for Best First Mystery and became a CBS television move, "Money, Power, Murder" to which Lupica contributed the teleplay. Over the years he has been a regular on the CBS Morning News, Good Morning America and The MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour. On the radio, he has made frequent appearances on Imus in the Morning since the early 1980s. His previous young adult novels, Travel Team, Heat, Miracle on 49th Street, and the summer hit for 2007, Summer Ball, have shot up the New York Times bestseller list. Lupica is also what he describes as a "serial Little League coach," a youth basketball coach, and a soccer coach for his four children, three sons and a daughter. He and his family live in Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Scott William Foley VINE VOICE on November 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I picked this book up through Vine for my high school classroom. I have several students who love sports, so I figured this would be right up their alley.

Once I began reading the book, I immediately had concerns about the main characters being ten-years-old. Those concerns were put to rest, however, when it became apparent that Lupica wrote them to sound far older. There were many times I felt as though they were college players, not pee-wee league. On the one hand, this bothered me to a certain extent. On the other hand, though, I reminded myself that the book wasn't written for a thirty-five-year-old, it was written fro young adults and children. Bearing this in mind, I think my students will better relate to it because the characters sound older than their dictated age.

I'd always heard Lupica wrote sports well. Now I know this to be true. His terminology is accurate and he achieved authentic pacing in regards to the games played. My athletes will really love that he got those things right.

Finally, I greatly appreciated the positive messages delivered within the book. Lupica makes a point to reinforce the importance of good sportsmanship, team chemistry, doing the right thing, and having loving relationships with family.

Though the dialogue of the characters seemed too sophisticated for the ages, I thought this book overall succeeded on many levels. I've already put it into the hands of a football player in my class and can't wait to get his take on it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anna VINE VOICE on October 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'll start off by saying I am NOT a Lupica fan, but I have to admit he writes a great sports book. My nephew is in Lupica's target audience and he enjoyed the story, and the book is great for young people in the midst of growing out of children's literature.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By L. Courtney VINE VOICE on October 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My son, like many other tween boys, would rather do something active than sit to read a book. Mike Lupica books have engaged him and held his interest.

Game Changers revolves around the sport of football. It is not too difficult of a reading level. And the subject matter is sure to appeal to boys (or girls) who enjoy the sport. Mike Lupica writes knowledgeably about the sport. The book is clean and appropriate for the grade level. As is often the case in Mike Lupica books, there is a valuable lesson to be learned. And the story holds the interest of reluctant readers who are sports fans.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By H. A Truett VINE VOICE on November 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
My son loves Mike Lupica's books. We usually listen to them as audio books. However, when this one popped up for review, I requested a copy. We used it as a read aloud, making it part of our homeschool day.Having two boys, I enjoy Lupica's books because they teach me some things about sports and the love of a game, without me getting a headache trying to keep up with the rules.

In this book, Shawn is harder on himself when he messes up than anyone else can be. Instantly, my son identified with Shawn. Once my kid feels he's messed up in a game, the rest of the game is ruined for him. When he relaxes and enjoys what he's doing, he throws strike after strike after strike. People stop to stare as he pitches on his park and rec team. But, like Shawn, when the fun stops, so does his confidence and the good attitude goes right down the drain. Haydn and I paid special attention, due to this similarity, to how the character of Shawn was developed, and I was happy with the eventual growth and humility. I hope it helped my son to see himself on the pages of this story.

My only real complaint from me is a grammar issue. I have not noticed it in any of Lupica's previous novels. The word "said" seemed to be used every line. No one yelled or cried or told or interjected. They all "said." I started skipping the word and just reading the dialogue. Usually, you could tell who was talking without the said. Perhaps this only bothered me as a writer, and other readers may not even notice.

The story was great. We will definitely continue reading Mike Lupica's novels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wayne S. Walker on November 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Eleven-year-old Ben McBain, though small for his age, is a good, all-around player with his football team, and he really wants to be the starting quarterback. However, Shawn O'Brien, whose father coaches the team and is a former professional quarterback, is chosen. Yet, despite his size and arm strength, Shawn is struggling and wants Ben to help him. So Ben must decide between going after his own dream and being a good teammate. How can Ben and his friends Sam, Coop, and Lily, assist Shawn? Will Ben and Shawn ever become friends? And how can an unexpected opportunity for Ben change the entire game for the both of them? Mike Lupica is one of the most prominent sports writers in America, with a nationally-syndicated New York Daily News column, and is the author of several highly acclaimed sports-based novels for young people.

I am not a big sports fan, so reading sports-based novels has never been a favorite pastime for me. However, I must admit that I enjoyed Game Changers, which is intended to be the first of a new series for middle grade readers. It extols the benefits of good friendships among young people, encourages them to do their best with a positive attitude, and illustrates good moral qualities. For example, there is a conversation between Ben and Shawn about the dangers of lying, and I like the way the fact that Ben and his family attend church is mentioned. The euphemistic "heck" is used a few times, and some current slang terms which will seriously date the book for future generations are found, but many of the obnoxious features of much modern youth literature are absent, so most parents will find it a wholesome read for their sports-minded tweens with little that is objectionable. The next book in the series, Game Changers Book 2: Play Makers, is due out in February of 2013.
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