The best part of this book is the framing of personal growth within the arenas of football and romance. This makes it a book that works for both older middle school students as well as high school. Mike's struggle with dealing with his father's death is done very realistically; I thought it was a particularly good touch to have the younger sister claim that she didn't really even remember her father. The hardships that Mike had-- riding his bike, not having a computer, having to work and worry about leaks in the roof of the house-- were not overdone and added a lot of depth to his character. The details about the war in Afghanistan were good as well, especially the local feeling about Isma and her family.