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Raiders Night Paperback – July 3, 2007

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–The Nearmont High School football team and the adults who support it see winning as the ultimate goal, even if it means resorting to illegal steroids. The players are the toast of the town, enjoying wild parties, drugs and alcohol, and girls who offer casual sex. Matt Rydek, one of the team's popular stars and a cocaptain, is torn between two girls and deals with a pushy father who lives vicariously through him. During preseason camp, the obnoxious and angry cocaptain, Ramp, assaults Chris, a new sophomore player and the object of his jealousy, and violates him with a baseball bat. The stunned upperclassmen, including Matt, don't tell anyone what they have witnessed, and although the coaches eventually learn the facts, they attempt to keep them quiet and pacify Chris to prevent a scandal. When Chris finally confronts Ramp with a gun, Matt must make some serious decisions about revealing the truth. Realistically gritty language peppers on-the-mark dialogue in this disturbing tale of bullying and competitive fury taken too far. Matt is a strong character believably confused by the mixed messages he gets from those around him, including his father. The alarmingly clear depiction of athletes trying to conceal hideous violence is reminiscent of that in Erika Tamar's Fair Game (1993) and Nancy Garden's Endgame (2006, both Harcourt). Lipsyte has added to his repertoire a remarkable, tough, important story exposing various negative elements that are far too common in today's world of sports.–Diane P. Tuccillo, City of Mesa Library, AZ
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.

From Booklist

Gr. 10-12. This grim, disturbing story about high-school football centers on Matt, who is a co-captain of the Nearmont Raiders. With Division One schools aggressively recruiting him, Matt's future looks assured. His present, however, is a nightmare. Addicted to Vicodin and "juice," the regular shots of steroids he receives with the support of his father, Matt rides a nonstop emotional roller coaster: he hates himself for feeling embarrassed by his developmentally disabled brother, and he hates his father for living out failed dreams of athletic stardom vicariously through him. Matt even hates football after he witnesses his sadistic co-captain sexually assault a rookie player at a preseason hazing (a brutal, graphic scene involving a plastic bat). After initially going along with the team's cover-up of the incident, Matt cooperates when an investigation is launched. Lipsyte paints an ugly picture of a corrupt high-school athletics world ruled by arrogance, homophobia, sexism, and a pathological obsession with winning. Readers will feel Matt's pain as he struggles between turning his back on his team and listening to his conscience. One of the story's greatest tragedies is that Matt's decision to do the right thing seems so completely against the grain. Ed Sullivan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; Reprint edition (July 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060599480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060599485
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #887,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
What's most amazing about this book, to me, is that it has all of the insight and vivid detail you'd expect from a prolific writer like Lipsyte, but he's captured the tone and pacing you'd expect to encounter in a high school. He truly immersed himself in the culture of high school and high-level high school sports, and he places the reader right there in the locker room and in conversations in a way you'd swear you were listening to two 17-year-olds talk.

The book is also an incredible tool in the fights against cruel hazing and doping. Without beating you over the head with the message, Lipsyte shows everything that is wrong with the darkest sides of sports. A must-read for every high school athlete.
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Format: Paperback
This book represents sports YA fiction done right. I felt for, understood (relatively), and liked the protagonist. He was a good guy, with a good, smart though process. Unfortunately, he was also being crushed by expectations, on and off the football field. Family issues, and state title expectations are used commonly in these types of books, but Lipsyte did a good job in balancing his weights out.

This book was more gut-wrenching than most in this genre, and I really made me keep turning pages. I would definitely read this novel again over time.
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Format: Hardcover
The Nearmont High School football season looks promising. The entire town expects great things from them --- Division, even State Championships --- and the team is on track for just such a season when they take off for preseason camp: two-a-day practices, morning wakeup calls, and Raider Pride Night, the traditional freshman initiation. Unfortunately, the ritual goes places it never should in ways that might compromise their entire season and ruin any chances they might have in college football and the pros.

"The biggest enemy of best is good. If you're satisfied with what's good, you'll never be the best."

Those words atop the Jerry Rice poster over Matt Rydeck's bed tell him everything he needs to know about football and life. He has to be willing to do what it takes, no matter what --- even if that involves staying loyal to his drug-using friends and even if that means using illegal steroids and Vicodin himself. They're supposed to take away the pain and help him heal faster. In the midst of all that, Matt would love to have a girl he could actually talk to, not just the typical girls who will follow any star receiver home after a party. He wants something more, someone with whom he can share his problems.

What would Matt's life be like without all the stress? Without having to hide what really happened that night at camp? Without the responsibility that comes with being team captain? Without the baggage of former one-night flings? With Dad in his face loading on the pressure to succeed, Matt needs a way out of his slowly suffocating world, and breaking a few rules and hearts seems like the only way out of town, to a life with a little more freedom.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Raiders Night is an excellent story about a high school football star facing a moral dilemma after a violent hazing incident in the locker room. Conflict and tension build from the first page to the last. Still, I didn't like the author's voice, and I doubt I'll read another of his novels. There was too much telling instead of showing - sometimes page upon page of narrative without any scenes. The dialogue was bland and uninteresting. Characterization was weak (other than the protagonist who was drawn fairly well). Finally, none of the characters were likeable, not even the hero. I'll give this book three stars based on the strength of the story, but young adults deserve better writing than this.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a short but well written book. One graphic scene (brief) will cause you to hesitate before passing it on to your teen but in my opinion the value of the lesson is strong and outweighs the desire to shelter your children. In the end it is about making the right choices, standing up, and doing the right thing. Our hero comes through!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Nearmont High School football season looks promising. The entire town expects great things from them --- Division, even State Championships --- and the team is on track for just such a season when they take off for preseason camp: two-a-day practices, morning wakeup calls, and Raider Pride Night, the traditional freshman initiation. Unfortunately, the ritual goes places it never should in ways that might compromise their entire season and ruin any chances they might have in college football and the pros.

"The biggest enemy of best is good. If you're satisfied with what's good, you'll never be the best."

Those words atop the Jerry Rice poster over Matt Rydeck's bed tell him everything he needs to know about football and life. He has to be willing to do what it takes, no matter what --- even if that involves staying loyal to his drug-using friends and even if that means using illegal steroids and Vicodin himself. They're supposed to take away the pain and help him heal faster. In the midst of all that, Matt would love to have a girl he could actually talk to, not just the typical girls who will follow any star receiver home after a party. He wants something more, someone with whom he can share his problems.

What would Matt's life be like without all the stress? Without having to hide what really happened that night at camp? Without the responsibility that comes with being team captain? Without the baggage of former one-night flings? With Dad in his face loading on the pressure to succeed, Matt needs a way out of his slowly suffocating world, and breaking a few rules and hearts seems like the only way out of town, to a life with a little more freedom.
Read more ›
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