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The Underdogs Hardcover – September 20, 2011

66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for The Underdogs:
“There's plenty of action for sports fans, and readers will root for Will and his teammates till the very last page.” –School Library Journal
“[F]ootball fans will…respond to the detailed and exciting game action once the season gets rolling and find inspiration in Will and his teammates' tenacity.” –Publisher’s Weekly
“Will's ingenuity and loyalty are encouraging, causing readers to want to cheer him on as he makes his dream come true.” –VOYA

About the Author

Mike Lupica is the author of multiple bestselling books for young readers, including QB 1, Heat, Travel Team, Million-Dollar Throw, and The Underdogs. He has carved out a niche as the sporting world’s finest storyteller. Mike lives in Connecticut with his wife and their four children. When not writing novels, Mike Lupica writes for New York's Daily News, appears on ESPN's The Sports Reporters and hosts The Mike Lupica Show on ESPN Radio. You can visit Mike Lupica at

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books; First Edition edition (September 20, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399250018
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399250019
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #792,310 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on February 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Twelve-year-old Will Tyler's passion is football. Not only does he love the sport, he also excels at it. Will has been looking forward to starting seventh grade and the beginning of the new football season. His team lost the championship last year when he fumbled the ball just feet from the goal line. He wants to show everyone that he and his teammates can be the real champs this year.

But the trouble is, not only might they not make it to the finals, they might not even make it onto the football field. There is no money to pay for extracurricular activities at the middle school this year, which means the sports program will have to be cut, beginning with football. Severe cutbacks have already been made due to lack of funding in previous years. As a result, the kids have no uniforms (the old ones were worn out and thrown away), and their stadium is falling apart.

There are not even many kids left in town to play on the team. Most have moved away since the Forbes Flyer shoe factory shut down, taking most of the businesses down with it, and forcing a number of families to move elsewhere to find work. A lot of them have relocated to Castle Rock, the town just on the other side of the river, which is the home of their arch rival football team, the Castle Rock Bears. Businesses are going strong there, and the kids have a new stadium and get new uniforms every year.

Facing a year without football, Will knows he has to do something to save the team. When he's able to secure funding from an unlikely source, who is willing to pay for new uniforms, stadium repairs, and all the other necessary items needed to get the team back onto the field, he thinks his troubles are over. Unfortunately, lack of funding isn't the only issue threatening the season.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Samantha McManus on August 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Will Tyler can fly on the football field and he lives for the game. Even after the humiliation of tripping during the Championship game last season, serving his team's archrival the win on a silver platter, he can't wait for the new season to begin. Too bad his small town of Forbes, Pennsylvania is in such a budget crunch they can't even afford the $10,000 it will cost to sponsor the city league team. The last vestige of promise the town held was an athletic shoe factory that was forced out of business by larger competitors. His father nurses a high school football injury that left him nearly cripple and with a bad taste for the game. Some of the best players are moving away or signing up for other sports, but Will cannot let go of his dream. He is so determined that the writes a letter to the CEO of New Balance, one of the companies that helped kill his town, and asks for help. Boy is he surprised when he gets a reply and the promise of a sponsorship for his football team. Now, can Will pull together enough players to have a team? Who will coach? And what about the new girl at school with the great throwing arm? It seems like a lot for an eleven-year-old to accomplish, but Will has the determination to get things done. Another good contribution to the sports genre by one of middle school's favorite authors. Recommended for grades 4 and up.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Beverly R. Bingham on October 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is a great teaching moment book. If you are determined you can climb over most obstacles. Well written as always. Good for many ages.
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Format: Paperback
Will Tyler know how to run with the football, probably the best around in Forbes, Pennsylvania. He is not just good at the sport but, he loves it too. If you like sports thrillers then The Underdogs by Mike Lupica is a good choice. Throughout the book problems start occurring. For example company closed, friends move away and sports teams don’t have enough money to finance them so they break up which has happened to Will’s team. So Will takes it into his own hands to bring the team back together by going door to door and asking people and more. Will doesn’t just do it because he loves the game, which he does, but also to make up for the fumble in the finals last year that cost him the game. I don’t want to give too much away so read the book to find out what happens. This was well written and exciting throughout. The only negative side of this book was it was a little too predictable, but besides that it was a great book.
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By Megan M. on January 23, 2015
Format: Paperback
Do you like playing football?Will Tyler loves to play football but he lives in a small town and doesn’t have enough money for jerseys or equipment for football.So Will writes a letter to New Balance and they say they will give them equipment for football.Then there coach and QB move away and they don’t have another one so they have tryouts for a new QB and they are trying to get back to the league championship.But you will have to read to find out if they will.

This book is my favorite because, the author is very descriptive in his writing.It describes what the field looks like and it describes what it it sounds like in the games too.Also it makes you want to keep reading.Most of the chapters you want to keep reading and it leaves you off at the end of chapters.Last it is an intense book.They have to have a coach and QB by there first game.

I really liked this book, so I think you should read it.
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