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Muckers [Kindle Edition]

Sandra Neil Wallace
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $7.99
You Save: $9.00 (53%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Kindle Edition $7.99  
Hardcover $12.06  
Paperback $9.99  
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Book Description

Former ESPN sportscaster Sandra Neil Wallace makes her young adult debut with a historical fiction novel that School Library Journal recommends to fans of Friday Night Lights in a starred review.
Felix “Red” O’Sullivan’s world is crumbling around him: the mine that employs most of town is on the brink of closing, threatening to shutter the entire town and his high school with it. But Red’s got his own burdens to bear: his older brother, Bobby, died in the war, and he’s been struggling to follow in his footsteps ever since. That means assuming Bobby’s old position as quarterback and leading the last-ever Muckers team to the championship.
But the only way for the hardscrabble Muckers to win State is to go undefeated and tackle their biggest rival, Phoenix United, which would be something of a miracle. Luckily, miracles can happen all the time on the field.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Red O’Sullivan is a scrawny quarterback for the Hatley Muckers, and he’s got quite a legacy. His brother, killed in WWII, was the last quarterback to take the hardscrabble high-school football team to victory, and now that the copper mine (the sole industry keeping Hatley afloat) is about to shut down, Muckers football is the only thing the small Arizona town has to look forward to. As residents continue to leave Hatley and their team members dwindle, the Muckers make the most of their meager resources—pushing a school bus instead of tackling dummies and running drills at the bottom of the mining pit—and rally to take on teams both bigger in number and in size. Based on a true story, Wallace’s novel follows the tough-as-nails, desegregated Muckers as they dig their heels into the slag and face impossible odds, all while the threat of racial tensions, anti-Communist sentiments, and the Korean War simmer in the background. Wallace, a former ESPN correspondent, captures a vivid sense of atmosphere and well-wrought characters, all while showcasing balls-to-the-wall football action. Grades 9-12. --Sarah Hunter


THE BULLETIN, November 2013:
"Wallace makes [her characters] live and breathe through careful attention to the quotidian details of local geography and universal motivators—guilt, friendship, spite, encouragement, anger, and talent." 

Starred Review, School Library Journal, December 2013:
"… fans of H.G. Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights (Addison-Wesley, 1990) and other football histories will appreciate this inspiring tale.”

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2742 KB
  • Print Length: 290 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375967540
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 8, 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,120,582 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I enjoyed the story "Muckers" a lot but even more so since it was drawn from a true story.

Hatley, Arizona is actually based on the real-life town of Jerome, Arizona. The rough and tumble story of this plucky small team (small in stature and in number) is inspiring and a real treat to sports lovers and to readers that like stories about underdogs.

It is 1950 and the Hatley Muckers are one of the few non-segregated teams in the state. So this story is not only about football but about racial tension - on the team, in the town and at the state level when the Muckers actually make it to the state championship game (I don't consider that to be a spoiler since it talks about the championship in many blurbs I read).

Family strife, romance, loss, friendship - this book covers a lot of ground. It does drag in a few spots and I never really got the feel that this was a Young Adult book as advertised. It felt much more targeted to an adult audience. I've mentioned in other reviews that just because the main protagonists in a book are young, it doesn't necessarily make that a Young Adult book. There is some adult language sprinkled throughout the story also.

But I do consider this to be a good story - one well worth reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Needs work June 12, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
While I knew this was a book written for male teens, I chose it because there were several common themes in it that I could relate to... My high school team was called the Muckers, I grew up in a small mining town, our football field was gravel not grass, and even though I grew up in the 60 - 70's we were so remote that our culture was a decade behind, so I can relate to the 50's quite well. I figured this would be a quick and simple read and had every expectation of enjoying it. Unfortunately, it failed on all accounts. The narration is rough and is filled with detail that has no depth. The characters are simple and unsympathetic, even as the author tries to create a nuanced and complex storyline... In an effort to be fair, just in case my gender was why I couldn't find a connection to these characters, I asked my husband to read it too. He not only share the same commonality that I do on the subjects matter and setting, but he also played championship football games. He too, found it lacking. In fact he ended up leaving it unfinished. When I asked him about it his review was "meh" which reinforces my impression. I doubt modern males, particularly teens and young adults will persevere too far into this book. Too bad. The storyline has promise, it just needs some major refinement to win an audience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great and entertaining read ! June 14, 2014
By Steve
I thoroughly enjoyed the way this book weaves the story of the achievements of the Muckers with the life and times of the inhabitants of Jerome, AZ in that time period, including the Muckers themselves. This is not the first book I have read by Sandra Neil-Wallace, and the strength of her books is the way she is able to weave the interesting stories of her characters with the keen sense of historical perspective with which their stories can be appreciated in their full context. It's easy to understand why this book gets so many good reviews; when you are done reading it, you feel you know the characters extremely well, as well as the times and conditions in which they lived and in which they strove to reach their greatness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kept me wanting the next game. March 9, 2014
By Chris
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
With a little tweek here and a name-change there, the telling of this story kept me fully engaged and "living" in my parents' high school years in a way I'd never been able to imagine through the many tales I've heard. Thank you Sandra for bringing those days back to life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Muckers" was based on a true story from the 1950's in the real town of Jerome, Arizona, which the author changed and set her version of events in a fictional Arizona mining town with a team called the Hatley Muckers. The action centers on the year (1950) the boys on the football team find out the Hatley Muckers will be the last team in the history of the high school, as the dying town will not be able to support the existing school district or the football team as the copper mines play out. I was drawn to "Muckers" because I love football and critics said the book reminded them of one of my favorite television programs, "Friday Night Lights."

Unfortunately, the story and the characters just never grabbed me the way I thought they would. Part of the problem again for me is that the book is written in the present tense, which seems to have become almost a requirement for young adult fiction. My assumption is that the authors who write in the present tense are trying to create of a feeling of being present when the events are actually unfolding and making the reader a part of the action. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't...this rendering wasn't bad but it never reached out to me either. The characters felt some what like place holders (racial divide is crossed for the good of the team and the town), although the dialog is fairly realistic, for teenagers of that time period. I think this book will appeal primarily to adults who look back fondly on the 1950's and perhaps get a feeling of nostalgia when the Cold War is brought up. Or they enjoy reading columns from fictional small town newspapers (a melon farmer with a mysterious digestive upset is in the hospital, is one example)that appear from time to time throughout the book.

The author, Sandra Neil Wallace, was formerly a writer for ESPN and I understand this book is her first novel, which may account for some of the uneven quality.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Wallace does an excellent job of being very clear while writing in...
Muckers, is a novel written by Sandra Neil Wallace telling the story of Felix O’Sullivan and his quest to bring the football state title to his crumbling home town. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Paul D Siller
4.0 out of 5 stars Muckers review
Muckers is the remarkable story of an underdog football team in a vanishing town. Although fictional, this book is inspired by true events of a 1950’s team and really hits home... Read more
Published 14 days ago by Ryan Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll end up smiling to yourself for only reasons you know why
Sometimes knowing why something is important to the people in the story is the most important part of the story. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Southern Mississippi
5.0 out of 5 stars Based on real events, a story full of heart
Muckers took me incredibly by surprise for one reason: I’m reading a book set during World War II, and somehow I still felt like the social climate hasn’t changed that much sixty... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Latin@s in Kid Lit
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Muckers by Sandra Neil Wallace would make a good movie for all ages. I read this book before handing it over to my 11 year old grandson, he loves to read and he is crazy about... Read more
Published 2 months ago by R.M. Putnam
5.0 out of 5 stars keeps life going
Among the plethora of new books written by new authors this one stands out. Sports insights accumulated during her journalistic experience leads well into the much more positive... Read more
Published 2 months ago by W. Jamison
2.0 out of 5 stars Would Have Been Better as a Nonfiction Narrative
Muckers is a fictionalized version of real events that happened in an Arizona mining community in the 1950s. Read more
Published 3 months ago by J. Wiles Parker
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved The Period In Which This Was Set
The fictional town of Hatley, AZ substitutes for the real town of Jerome, AZ in this book which centers on the local high school's football team and its attempts to go all the way... Read more
Published 5 months ago by G.I Gurdjieff
3.0 out of 5 stars It is not bad at all
It is not bad at all, but it is not great either. It has all the right moves and evokes all the right feelings, but it reads mostly like a sports story about overcoming adversity,... Read more
Published 7 months ago by SillyMoose
4.0 out of 5 stars going the extra mile at practice to be the best at their sport
Red lives in a small Arizona town, one that will soon be just about shut down because the copper has been all been taken from the mine. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Heidi G
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More About the Author

A former news anchor and ESPN announcer, Sandra Neil Wallace may have snagged her best lead yet in uncovering the inspirational achievements of the Jerome Muckers football team. She discovered the story while sifting through a box of letters and other memorabilia. The trail of letters led her to write MUCKERS.

Sandra was named an outstanding newcomer to the children's literature scene by the Horn Book following the publication of her first novel LITTLE JOE,which has been translated into Simplified Chinese and Japanese. BABE CONQUERS THE WORLD is Sandra's newest book, a biography on sports legend Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Sandra lives in New Hampshire with her husband, author Rich Wallace, and travels frequently to Jerome Arizona, to visit the surviving Muckers players. Visit for more on MUCKERS and for Sandra's other books.


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