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Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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Game Changers: Book 1 Hardcover – May 8, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 129 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Game Changers Series

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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: 5.7 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (129 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #832,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I downloaded this book on my Kindle and have been reading it nightly with my son. It's a great book for any child interested in football/sports. It also teaches about sportsmanship, being a team player and friendship. Would definitely read or let my son read the other Mike Lupica books.
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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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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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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'd come across Heat, one of Mike Lupica's earlier novels purely by chance. I'm not much of a sports fan but the story of this young boy and his older brother trying to get by after the death of their father was about much more than just baseball. Somehow, Lupica wove in the problems facing a young illegal immigrant - the fear, the need to hide and the desire to fit in - into the story of this amazing athlete who has a chance to bring his little league team to victory as long as he isn't outed and deported first. It's hard to explain exactly, but after reading Heat, I started reading as much of Mike Lupica's young adult novels that I could find. Needless to say, I was excited to review his latest young adult novel, Game Changers.

Like Heat, Game Changers introduces us to a hero so likable, that you find yourself in his corner early in the book. Ben McBain is a born quarterback: he loves football, he's understands the game, sees the entire field when he plays, he's quick, he's strong, and he brings his teammates together. Unfortunately, Ben is also much smaller than the usual quarterback, which means that few of the coaches or grownups see him as a natural for that position. Instead of whining about his luck, Ben plays smarter and he works harder than everyone else. Fortunately, he lives right next to a field which he and his three closest friends have dubbed McBain Field for all the hours they've spent there over the years.

The book opens with a new football season starting. Ben McBain is better than ever and he's excited for tryouts. Their new coach O'Brien is a superstar in his own right - he played for the NFL and cares about the kids. Unfortunately for Ben, the coach's son Shawn O'Brien is trying out for quarterback too.
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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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