Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
When fourteen-year-old Stevie is fired as the co-host for USTV's Kid-Sports program, it looks like he is going to miss both the Super Bowl and his opportunity to work with Susan Carol again. He is devastated until he calls his mentor, who arranges to have him attend the Super Bowl as a journalist for the Washington Herald. Stevie's week in Indianapolis is fantastic (literally). He not only writes his daily column for the Herald, he is asked to be part of the "talent" for CBS. This credential gets him into everything. He, of course, connects with Susan Carol and they discover the shocking news that the defensive line of one of the teams has actually flunked the drug test and the results are being concealed. Stevie and Susan Carol become embroiled in first proving that this is so and then revealing the truth to the world. Everything falls into place for them (perhaps a bit too neatly) and they publish the big scoop on the day of the game. The enormity of Super Bowl week is evident; the hype around the football players, the tension of the media, and the pressure of the crowds are well portrayed. Sports fans will enjoy this third book about these likeable teenage journalists.
VOYA - Teri S. Lesesne
Susan Carol and Stevie are back after solving mysteries at the U.S. Open and the Final Four tournament in Feinstein's Vanishing Act (2006/VOYA October 2006) and Last Shot (Knopf, 2005/VOYA February 2005). Now they are scheduled to go to Indianapolis to cover the Super Bowl in their role as reporters for a kids' sports show. Stevie, however, receives some unwelcome news before he can depart for Indy: He is being replaced on the television show. Susan Carol's new partner will be one of the lead singers of a popular boy band. Stevie is devastated, and Susan Carol vows to walk off the job. She must fulfill her contract at least for now. Stevie, fortunately, is invited to come to Indianapolis by his newspaper reporter friend Bobby, who secures him a press pass. When Stevie and Susan Carol stumble across a potential scandal, they must again play the role of teen sleuths to get to the truth. That puts their lives and even the Super Bowl game in a precarious situation. Can they expose this cover-up without coming to harm or ruining the reputation of some of the key players? Feinstein knows and understands his audience. Reluctant readers, especially those who love football, will find this book a compelling read. The short chapters seem to rush the action along, much as rushes on a football field, at a breakneck pace. Chapter titles are sports terms that signal the action to be covered in the next several pages. Certainly every teen with NFL or ESPN dreams will appreciate Feinstein's latest sports mystery.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up
Stevie and Susan Carol, both 14, are famous sports-TV reporters. Now covering the Super Bowl, they stumble into an even bigger story: five offensive linemen have failed their steroid tests and there has been a huge conspiracy to cover it up. Even allowing for the unlikely scenario of 14-year-olds having a national audience and impeccable journalistic skills, this story falls short. It requires a base of knowledge of sports figures that some readers may lack, leaving them to try to sort out an array of characters who are not effectively described. Still, the teens are well crafted and the villains are extraordinary. Cover-Up will appeal to well-versed sports aficionados, but for a guaranteed winner highlighting steroid abuse, stick with Robert Lipsyte's Raiders Night (HarperTempest, 2006).
Leah KrippnerCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
As 14-year-old Steve heads to Indianapolis to cover the Super Bowl with fellow reporter Susan Carol Anderson, Bill Thomas tells his son, "Just promise me you won't get into any trouble this week." But when they get to Indianapolis, they uncover a plot to cover up drug tests failed by the offensive line of the California Dreams, and the junior Woodward and Bernstein face a nervous quarterback, a drunken letch, an outraged owner of the Dreams and hired thugs trying to get the reporters to back off. The third of Feinstein's sports mysteries, after Last Shot (2005) and Vanishing Act (2006), this has become an enjoyable formula. The pace is brisk, readers get to rub shoulders with sports celebrities, there's more than a hint of romance between Steve and Susan Carol and the story ends with a moral: "The truth will bring the bad guys down." Sure to be a hit with sports fans, who will look forward to future installments hinted at on the final page: a scandal at the Olympics? The World Series? (Fiction. 10-14)
From the Publisher
“Sure to be a hit with sports fans.”—Kirkus Reviews
“An entertaining mix of mystery, insider detail (including cameos by bigname sports media figures), and ripped-from-the-headlines subject matter”—Booklist
“Fast-paced action . . . a glamorous background.”—The Horn Book
“Every teen with NFL or ESPN dreams will appreciate Feinstein’s latest sports mystery”—VOYA
Read an Excerpt
For a few seconds, Stevie couldn’t understand anything Susan Carol was saying. Between the rush of words and her southern accent, most of what he heard was gibberish. He was picking up perhaps two words a sentence.
“Hate them . . . Never, ever . . . The nerve . . . Can’t be trusted . . . Hate them.”
The second time he heard ‘hate them’ he broke in because he guessed she was repeating herself. “Calm down,” he said.
He understood her next sentence quite clearly: “CALM DOWN! DON’T YOU DARE TELL ME TO CALM DOWN, STEVEN RICHMAN THOMAS. I WILL NOT CALM DOWN, NOT FOR ONE SECOND!”
He realized he was smiling. Her anger was one part amusing and about five parts touching. She seemed to be more upset about what had happened than he was. And her tirade was making him feel much better.
“What did you tell them?” he said when she finally paused to take a breath.
“I told them they better find themselves another girl, that there was only one person I would work with and some eye candy guy named Jamie Whitsitt, of all things, was not that person.”
“Who is Jamie Whitsitt?”
He heard her sigh, the kind of sigh he usually heard when she seemed convinced he was too stupid to live.
“Jamie Whitsitt is the lead singer of the ‘Best Boys.’ He is gorgeous but I couldn’t care less. I’m not working with him.”
Remarkably, Stevie had heard of ‘Best Boys,’ if only because he had heard the girls in his class oohing and aahing about them at lunch time. “Aren’t those guys a lot older than us?” he asked.
“He’s eighteen. They don’t care. Shupe said we were a ‘perfect match.’ I told him I didn’t care, that the show was supposed to be about two kid reporters–reporters–not some damn rock star.”
Stevie almost gagged. He had never heard Susan Carol say anything stronger than gosh darn up until now.
“So what did they say to all that?”
“They said they were going to talk to my dad–who’s not home right now. They said they understood why I’d be upset about this and they thought loyalty was a great thing but I’d breach my contract if I didn’t keep doing the show; and that not only would I not get paid but they might take me to court.”
“Whoa! They threatened to sue you? Unbelievable!”
“Remind me to listen to Bobby and Tamara when they say something from now on will you?”
Tamara Mearns was Bobby Kelleher’s wife. He was a sports columnist for the Washington Herald; she for the Washington Post. The two of them had become Stevie and Susan Carol’s journalism mentors. Both had urged them strongly to resist the temptations of money and fame put on the table by USTV. They hadn’t listened.
Stevie took a deep breath. “I want you to listen to me for a minute,” he said.
“I don’t want you to quit.”
“WHAT . . .?”
“Hang on a minute. First, there is the money issue. They’re probably bluffing about suing you. But I still get paid in this thing and you don’t. Second, you’re good at this and there’s no reason for you to stop doing it on my account. I’ll be fine. It isn’t as if my career’s over–I’m fourteen. Third, when the year is over, you can either walk away from doing this kind of stuff or, if you want, there will be 10 other TV jobs at other places you could have.”
There was a long silence on the other end of the phone.
“Did your dad tell you to say all this?”
Why was it, he thought, that she always knew everything. He considered lying for a second, but decided the heck with it. Lying was for TV guys.
“Yes he did,” he said, finally. “But I thought about it before I actually said it, and I think he’s right. And if you think about it when you calm down a little you’ll probably decide he’s right too.”
“Stop telling me to calm down.”
“Okay. But you’ll think about it?”
She sighed again, this time not the ‘too stupid to live,’ sigh but one of sadness. “I’ll think about it,” she said.
“Good. Call me after you talk to your dad, okay?”
He was about to say goodbye when he heard her say, “Stevie?”
“I really do love you, you know.”
He wasn’t sure how to answer that one. They were fourteen and had kissed once. Still, the answer that came out of his mouth felt right.
“I love you too.”