Both Tessa and Caleb are portrayed realistically, in both their own feelings and how they treat each other. Granted, they both exhibit ideal behavior in the end, but I'm a big proponent of positive thinking and productive example! The two are friends who slowly like each other more. They make missteps. They do outright stupid things. But ultimately, they make sense of their world and make the best possible choices, and Caleb is able to say exactly the right thing to Tessa.
The families and community are great as well. They don't drop everything as this unfolds. It's not the biggest drama in the world to them, but they acknowledge that it is to Caleb and Tessa. I especially loved that the coach didn't really blink. We're not really sure if he thinks Tessa won't make it, if he just doesn't want to bother, or if he truly believes Tessa will be fine on the team. He just lets her play. Isn't that what we want?
For teachers and librarians who never read sports books-- if you only read one football book in your entire career, let it be this one. Heldring manages to capture the reality of modern day feminism from both the male and female viewpoint, and presents it in a compact (under 200 pages!), interesting way that is laced with enough football language to appeal to readers.
Stealing Tessa and Caleb's moment that is captured by a local news photographer, I truly want to hold hands with this book on the top of a hill at sunset. Run as fast as Tessa can run to get your copy right now.