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Pop Library Binding – Bargain Price, August 25, 2009

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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray; 1 edition (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061742309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061742309
  • ASIN: B008SLQBM4
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,097,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–10—New to town, Marcus spends the summer before his junior year practicing football alone at a local park hoping to meet someone from the high school team. Instead, he meets an eccentric middle-aged man named Charlie who teaches Marcus more about football, tackling, and the art of the "pop" than he could have imagined, and the two strike up an unusual friendship. Charlie lives by no set schedule and can't seem to remember that Marcus's name is not Mac. Marcus tries out and makes the team, but learns that they are not a welcoming group, fearful that the newcomer will upset their perfect record. To make matters worse, the star quarterback, Troy, is Charlie's son, and his ex-girlfriend, Alyssa, has the hots for Marcus. Gradually, Marcus figures out that Charlie is an ex-NFL star who is suffering from early on-set Alzheimer's, a secret his family tries to keep well hidden. Despite these obstacles on and off the field, Marcus is determined to help his friend. Nick Podehl's skillful narration of his novel (HarperTeen, 2009) seamlessly flows between Marcus's teenage obliviousness and Charlie's middle-aged gruffness, adding another affective level to this heartbreaking story. Yet with plenty of football action, this atypical sports story will hook even the most reluctant readers/listeners.—Karen T. Bilton, Mary Jacobs Library, Rocky Hill, NJ
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“A brisk, heartfelt and timely novel.” (New York Times Book Review )

“Korman goes straight to the heart.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review) )

“Thought-provoking.” (Publishers Weekly )

“Fantastic…Perfectly captures the football experience.” (Newsday )

“Funny, poignant and full of football action, POP hits you hard and doesn’t let up.” (Tim Green, author of the New York Times bestselling Football Genius and Football Champ )

More About the Author

Gordon Korman has written more than fifty middle-grade and teen novels. Favorites include the New York Times #1 bestseller The 39 Clues: One False Note, The Juvie Three, Son of the Mob, Born to Rock, and Schooled. Though he didn't play football in high school, Gordon's been a lifelong fan and season ticket holder. He says, "I've always been fascinated by the 'culture of collision' in football and wanted to explore it-not just from the highlight films but from its darker side as well." Gordon lives with his family on Long Island, New York.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
Probably the best book my kids read.
Weird... but the weirdness is outweighed by the fantastic football knowledge Marcus is gaining from this awesome athlete.
Young teen boys should really enjoy this story.
baltimore book love

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By baltimore book love on December 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I started reading this book one night and two hours later and way past midnight I was still turning pages. What may be even more unusual about that is that I am hardly Gordon Korman's target audience. I'm a middle-aged woman, albeit a football fan. Marcus and Charlie are great characters. You can feel Marcus's anguish at being the new kid in town, school, and team. You get a sense of Charlie trying to hang on to the last shreds of himself. For adults, the story may be a bit precious in places. All the pieces fit together a little too neatly, and we're never in doubt that in the end there will be a big game and it will be up to Marcus to win it. That's hardly a spoiler, but there's a lot more to the ending and it's a surprise. Young teen boys should really enjoy this story. It would be great for slightly younger kids too, but there is some kissing and sexual innuendo.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ken C. TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
POP as a title contains a double meaning -- one, it is the nickname of Charlie Popovich, an ex-NFL star suffering from Alzheimer's, and two, it is the sound you get when you slam your helmet into someone in football. It comes as no surprise, but "Pop" likes to pop people, and our protagonist, Marcus Jordan, finds out the hard way when he meets the 50-something Charlie at the public park one day while tossing around a football. The unlikely meeting leads to regular practice between the old-timer and the youngster, who is new to town and anxious to try out for the undefeated high school team.

With plenty of football action, this book will appeal to reluctant readers as well as sports fans, but it also takes a social angle as Marcus learns that the high school quarterback whose job he covets is the son of Charlie and none too pleased that Marcus is a) angling for his starting QB job, and b) practicing football with his legendary dad at the park. What's worse, both Troy and his sister Chelsea are bent on keeping Charlie's condition -- Alzheimer's as a result of multiple concussions during his NFL career -- a secret. Want more for the mix? How about Alyssa, head cheerleader and looker who on-again/off-again dates Troy, taking up an interest in Marcus?

Veteran YA author Gordon Korman pulls all the levers in this book to maximize the entertainment value. There's some suspense, some humor, and some learning about an important disease neatly brought together in one package here. My one reservation is a common one in the YA field -- the lack of reality in some of the situations and events. The more important point, however, is that this book is compelling and equal parts sports, humor, and social drama -- a potent combination. Recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on February 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Gold Star Award Winner!

If I was asked to write a one word review for POP by Gordon Korman, I would write - Fantastic! Once readers start passing this one around, it may never touch a bookshelf again.

Quarterback want-to-be Marcus Jordan is packed up and moved to the mountains of New York state by his divorced mother. It's no big loss in the dad department considering he refers to his father as Comrade Stalin. He knows he and his mother are better off out of Kansas and on their own, but it's the summer before his junior year, and his dream of playing varsity quarterback may not survive the move.

With no friends yet to occupy his time and definitely no fellow football companions to work out with, Marcus heads to the local city park to create his own workout. He is attempting some passing practice when a burly, middle-aged guy shows up and sprints into the park and picks off one of his passes. Before he knows it, the guy is putting him through his paces. They are passing the ball like crazy and then running patterns and hitting each other like it's the biggest game of the season. And then the guy is gone.

Marcus learns the man's name is Charlie. Without any regular schedule or plan, they start working out together in the park. Charlie just sort of shows up - maybe one day, but not the next, and rarely ever at the same time. Even with crazy and unreliable appearances, the time Marcus spends with Charlie is really improving his game.

Whenever Marcus tries to find out exactly who Charlie is, he runs into a roadblock. Their time together is basically all about football - until the day a wild pass ends up crashing through the side window of a car parked along the street.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karen Keyte VINE VOICE on January 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When sixteen-year-old Marcus Jordan moves to Kennesaw, New York, he doesn't exactly find a welcoming committee waiting for him. It's a little hard to make friends in the middle of the summer when you don't know anyone in town, so Marcus spends his days at Three Alarm Park, practicing his football skills alone and waiting for the school year to start.

It's while Marcus is honing his game that he finally makes a friend - an unlikely friend, but a friend nonetheless. Charlie is in his mid-fifties, but he's not like any adult Marcus has ever met. He loves pranks and he really loves football. And, after practicing with Charlie every afternoon, Marcus comes to love the `pop' of a hard tackle as much as the odd older man does.

When football tryouts start, Marcus is met with a wall of resistance. The team was undefeated last year, only graduated two seniors, and the coach has no desire to introduce a new player into the mix. Worse yet, starting quarterback Troy Popovich detests Marcus from the moment they meet and he doesn't try to hide it. When Marcus discovers that Charlie is Troy's dad - and a fourteen year veteran of the NFL - Troy's hostility and Charlie's juvenile behavior lead Marcus to discover a truth about Charlie that his family is desperate to hide.

Marcus vows to remain loyal to his friendship with Charlie, despite Troy's animosity. Even though Troy and his sister want Marcus to stay away from his father and out of their lives, he's not willing to abandon Charlie - even if it means putting his own future at risk.
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