Thursday, December 4, 2008

Two-Minute Drill by Mike Lupica

Main Character: 6th-grader Scott Parry
Location: undefined
Time period: Contemporary
Genre: J Fiction, Sports, Football
Series: Mike Lupica's Comeback Kids

Mike Lupica has written some good sports novels for YAs and now turns his sights towards younger readers with his Comeback Kids series. Reading this book put me in mind of when I was in grade school and reading Matt Christopher, which were the epitome of sports books for kids then and still popular now.

Scott Parry is the new kid in school, trying very hard to make new friends. He is smart but clutzy, which makes him the target of Jimmy Dolan--football player, son of the football coach, and school bully. Things get worse when Scott gets on the football team and Jimmy treats him like his personal tackle dummy. Fortunately, Scott does make friends with Chris Conlan, the team's quarterback. The two get together and practice on the field Scott and his dad marked off behind his house. Chris discovers that while Scott is not very good at catching the football, he is very good at kicking. But Chris has his own problem--he has trouble reading and if he can't pass an upcoming test his parents won't let him play football anymore. The two make a deal--Chris will help Scott with football, and Scott will help Chris with reading.

I enjoyed this book, even though I'm not a big football fan. Scott is a good kid, who is trying to be independent and solve his own problems. His friendship with Chris has its ups and downs, but they are both willing to work at it, and to apologize when they hurt each other. Jimmy isn't as fully fleshed out as the others, but he isn't just a cardboard character; early on, Chris offers some insight as to why he acts as he does. And while Coach Dolan seems to be blind to his son's misconduct, he is still trying to be a good coach.

Two-Minute Drill is on the 2009-2010 Texas Bluebonnet Award List.

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