Second Stringer

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First-rate football novel
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Reader reviewed by LJK

Kevin Taylor is used to being the second stringer; throughout his football career at Warren High School, Kevin has played backup to the superb start, Rob Montgomery. Rob is a star, whose fancy footwork and excellent passing skills have led the Lions to victory. And so Kevin watches from the sidelines, and while he'd like to play more, it is more a case of Kevin wishing that he were a better play rather than wishing that Rob would be worse. And so it is with mixed feelings that Kevin takes on the starting role when Rob blows out his knee in the season opener. Now it is up to Kevin to salvage the season, but can he win the games when even he doesn't think he has the stuff?

Second Stringer is an excellent and straightforward football novel. While many YA books are to be admired for their complexity, what really struck me about this book was how focused it was. Games are described in great detail, and almost all of the relationships are seen through the lense of play. There are no competing storylines; although Kevin and Rob both learn surprising facts about each other, nothing distracts from the story of this season, and its two quarterbacks.

This novel is great for football players who might be reluctant readers, but even non-players will be able to understand the descriptions. I highly recommend this novel.

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