by Elaine Scott, Ellen Thompson

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This gripping novel explores a Texas community's obsession with high school sports. The town of Preston is preoccupied with football, especially the upcoming game between two local teams, the Cougars and the Eagles. When a group of students enters the grounds of rival school Woodrow High in an attempt to retrieve a stolen mascot, actions snowball into a vandalism spree; high school senior Beth, caught at the wrong place at the wrong time, is forced to take the blame for her peers. Suspended from school and faced with criminal charges, Beth finds herself fighting a battle for justice in a town ruled by tradition and riddled with corruption. It soon becomes apparent that friends, parents, policemen and school authorities are using Beth as a target in order to save their own reputations. She must decide if it is worth the risk to stand up for her rights. This fast-moving, action-filled drama tests the limits of loyalty, friendship and trust. On one level, it reveals the danger of taking sports too seriously; on another, it addresses and exposes the dark side of politics. A thought-provoking novel. Ages 12-up. (May)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-- Beth O'Connor is one of a group of girls at her high school who traditionally ``decorates'' the homes of football stars with spray paint and toilet paper during the lead-up to important games. Because they're always careful to clean up afterwards, their hijinks are tolerated, even supported by their sports-minded community. However, when their school's mascot is stolen, ostensibly by the opposition, the playful mood turns ugly, some real vandalism occurs, and Beth, alone of all the students participating, is arrested and sent to a correctional center. However, this is not a story about football, or even school vandalism, but about due process and the legal rights of children. Unfortunately, Scott has done a less than adequate job in handling her subject, leaving readers uninvolved by the character or her predicament. The main deficiencies are stereotypical characters and poor plot construction. The ending is abrupt, and the attempt at a realistic resolution less believable than a happy ending would have been. Some nits to pick: brand names appear on seemingly every page and there is an inconsistency in prohibiting students in the correctional program from school board property, although the program is run by the school board. Finally, it would be interesting to know on what Scott bases her description of that Incorrigible Students Center, a picture straight out of Dickens: barred windows, no teachers or other specialist staff, no educational program other than written lesson plans, no facilities except for study carrels facing blank walls. For a better treatment of kids' civil and legal rights, try Barbara Dana's Necessary Parties (Harper, 1986) or any of the current nonfiction titles in print. --Barbara Hutcheson, Greater Victoria Public Library, B.C., Canada

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Age Range:
12 Years

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