Football Genius (Football Genius Series #1)

Football Genius (Football Genius Series #1)

4.5 145
by Tim Green
     
 

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Troy White can predict any football play before it happens. And when his single mom gets a job with the Atlanta Falcons, Troy knows it's his big chance to help them out of their slump—and finally prove his football genius. But unless Troy can convince star linebacker Seth Halloway that he's telling the truth, the Falcons' championship—and Troy's mom's

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Overview

Troy White can predict any football play before it happens. And when his single mom gets a job with the Atlanta Falcons, Troy knows it's his big chance to help them out of their slump—and finally prove his football genius. But unless Troy can convince star linebacker Seth Halloway that he's telling the truth, the Falcons' championship—and Troy's mom's job—are in serious jeopardy.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Adult author and former Atlanta Falcon Green (American Outrage) delivers a satisfying YA debut, using his own NFL experience to bring readers behind the scenes. Twelve-year-old Troy White's athletic ability and his preternatural talent for predicting football strategy are both going to waste (he's stuck playing second-string on his team), until frustration with a vicious bully on his team pushes him to "borrow" an official NFL football from local Atlanta Falcons star linebacker Seth Halloway. As Troy languishes on his own football team and resents the father who abandoned him, he strives to alert the Falcons of his gift: "Sometimes a kid's heart tells him to do something and he needs to listen, even if it means getting in trouble." Acting as a mentor, Seth encourages Troy to come clean about his adventures ("The truth is more important than the trouble it brings") and to forgive his father's desertion ("All I know is, things happen. Unless you're the one they're happening to, you usually can't understand it"). Seth ends up dating Troy's mother and coaching Troy's team, giving Troy the chance to shine not only on the sidelines, where his play-predicting ability helps bring the Falcons to victory, but on the field as well. "There was no rage fueling him now. It was something else, a blinding energy he never knew he had." Non-sports fans will root for underdog Troy ("I want to do something. I want to be something. I thought this was my chance") and enthusiasts will thrill to the firsthand knowledge Green brings to the novel. Ages 10-up. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
KLIATT - Paula Rohrlick
Troy, age 12, is a dedicated if hotheaded football fan with a unique gift: he can predict plays. When his single mother gets a job with the Atlanta Falcons football team and obtains a field pass for a game, Troy's gift combined with his impetuous nature nearly gets her fired when he tries to get onto the field to suggest a play to help the team win. Luckily, the team's star linebacker, Seth Halloway, believes in Troy's gift, and despite mean Coach Krock, Troy ends up helping out his favorite team, kindling some romance between Seth and his mom, and even getting Seth to coach Troy's own team. Troy's behavior isn't always admirable—he steals a football from Seth at one point, for instance, though his mother makes him return it—but in the end he learns "The truth is more important than the trouble it brings." Reminiscent of Mike Lupica's sports novels for YAs, this first novel for young readers by Tim Green, a former star linebacker for the Falcons, will appeal to all young football fans with its authentic football action and determined young hero.
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Troy is a sixth-grade football genius: he has an uncanny ability to predict any play by any team in any football game. But his gift does not help him on his own football team, where the coach unfairly favors his own, less-talented son as quarterback. And when Troy tries to use his predictive powers to help his favorite pro team—the Atlanta Falcons—to win, it only causes havoc on the sidelines and gets his single mother fired from her job in the Falcons public relations department. Finally, Troy's growing friendship with Falcons' star player Seth Halloway helps him find an unexpected way to solve both problems and come into his own as a young football hero. Tim Green is himself a former Atlanta Falcons defensive end and author of numerous bestselling adult suspense novels. Here, in his debut novel for young readers, Green shows himself a master of nonstop, relentless suspense, constantly creating new, seemingly impossible obstacles for Troy to overcome, and raising the stakes for Troy if he fails to do so. The basic premise for the story requires considerable suspension of reader disbelief— could someone really have the gift of infallibly predicting football plays? And if someone did have such a gift, would not a team's reliance on that gift be a form of cheating? Nonetheless, Troy's predicament is so gripping, and Green's storytelling skills are so finely honed, that it is worth accepting it all and going along on the thrilling ride to the novel's completely satisfying conclusion.
VOYA - Debbie Clifford
Twelve-year-old Troy has a gift. He can see football plays before they develop. He knows that his talent could help his beloved Atlanta Falcons-but how can he make them aware of it? When his single mother gets a PR job with the team, Troy sees his chance. He uses the sideline pass secured by his mother to try talking to a coach. Things go badly, and his mother nearly loses her job. Meanwhile Troy also struggles with being a talented quarterback who warms the bench while the bully who is the coach's less-talented son plays first string. An aging Falcon linebacker befriends Troy and helps him to realize his dreams. This story is frustrating from the start. For a twelve-year-old, Troy is pretty immature as he is given to crying quite readily when things go wrong. He frequently disobeys when the punishment obstructs his plans to help the Falcons. After being grounded by his mom for one of his misdeeds, he plants his best friend in his room playing video games while he sneaks out in another attempt to make things go his way. The football insider aspects of the story will appeal to some, but most teen readers will tire of Troy and his antics.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

Troy White is every football team's dream...even if they don't know it yet. Although he's in middle school, he is a great quarterback on his rec team, and he's got a secret talent-he can watch any football game and, after a few plays, he can call the subsequent plays before they happen. When Troy's mom, Tessa, gets a job as PR assistant for the Atlanta Falcons, Troy thinks he'll get the chance to use his gift and help his favorite team to a winning season. The boy finally manages to convince the star player of his hidden talent, but when it rubs the team's defensive coordinator the wrong way, Tessa's job is threatened. The race is on to try to save the Falcons' season as well as Tessa's job. Written by Tim Green, a former linebacker for the Falcons, this exciting story (HarperCollins, 2007) will immediately draw in sports fans. Narration is performed well by a full cast, including Green. Since so many different voices are used, there is sometimes a choppiness to the narrative. On occasion, overly melodramatic music overshadows the ending of a chapter or the beginning of the next one. A good addition for large libraries and those seeking to attract tween/teen boys.-Jessica Miller, New Britain Public Library, CT

Kirkus Reviews
Sixth-grader Troy White is a one-of-a-kind athlete with the ability to predict which plays any football team will run even before the ball is snapped. However, his mental talents don't help him crack his youth-league team's starting lineup (the coach plays his own son at quarterback). Troy dreams of pitching his talent to his beloved Atlanta Falcons, helping them post a winning season. Seemingly an after-school-special waiting to happen, and marked by cinematic writing, this feel-good story has a place in libraries fielding requests for clean and uplifting stories. Touching scenes of underdog Troy wishing he had a father to help him are contrasted with very realistic on-the-field football action, which is not surprising considering that the author is a former NFL player. Many actual players' names are dropped throughout the story but some, like Randy Moss, may soon switch teams. More than a sports story, romance pops up as Troy nudges star Falcon linebacker Seth Halloway to date Troy's mother. This light and fast-paced story will appeal to the tween crowd. (Fiction. 10-13)
ALA Booklist
“Green makes Troy a winning hero, and he ties everything together with a fast-moving plot.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Appealing...the effortless commingling of real players with fictional characters should keep middle-graders engrossed."
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Appealing...the effortless commingling of real players with fictional characters should keep middle-graders engrossed.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Appealing...the effortless commingling of real players with fictional characters should keep middle-graders engrossed.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Appealing...the effortless commingling of real players with fictional characters should keep middle-graders engrossed.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061756689
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Series:
Football Genius Series , #1
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
31,677
Lexile:
800L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Football Genius

Chapter One

Troy knew it was wrong. It was wrong to sneak out of the house after midnight. It was wrong to take something that wasn't yours. And, even though he wasn't that kind of kid, that night, he was doing both.

Usually, on a night like that night, the crickets' end-of-summer song and the moths bumping against the window screen would put him to sleep. Usually, he didn't hear his mom turn off the TV in the living room. And usually, if he was up that late, the water groaning through the pipes while his mom ran her bath would finish him off. But that night, worry kept him awake. Because he really wasn't the kind of kid to sneak out, and especially to take something that wasn't his.

But if he did have to quietly slide open the screen, straddle the window, and drop to the ground with a thud, this was a good night to do it. Stars swirled around the big yellow moon, casting shadows perfect for hiding. Shorts and a T-shirt were all he needed to stay warm.

He didn't plan on having to run, but he laced his sneakers tight in case he did. His feet fell without a sound over the path through the pine trees. He could smell the trees' sticky sap, still warm from the hot September day. An owl hooted somewhere close. A rabbit screamed, then went quiet. The crickets stopped, and only the buzz of mosquitoes filled the air.

Troy looked back at his house. It was nestled into the pines, with no side or backyard. In front, there was nothing more than a gritty patch of red clay. A tire hung from a limb at the edge of the patch. A target for footballs. The house was more like a cabin, a single-story box with a roofcovered by fallen pine needles.

Still, the weak orange glow from the night-light in the bathroom window was like a friend, calling him back. Away from the owl and the mosquitoes.

But Troy had other friends, and he dodged through the pine trees into the darkness, finding his way to the railroad tracks almost without looking. He stood on the steel rail, balancing his sneakers and looking down the long line toward the Pine Grove apartment complex, where his friends lived. He tried to whistle, but it came out wrong. He tried again, and again, before giving up.

"Tate?" he called, first soft, then louder. "Tate."

A whistle came back at him from the woods, high and clear, the way you'd call a dog. In the light of the moon, he watched two figures climb up the stony railway bed and start walking his way on the tracks. One of the figures was as thin as the rail she balanced on. Tate McGreer, a pretty girl with dark eyes, olive skin, and silky brown hair tied into a ponytail.

The other was big and burly. A twelve-year-old in the body of a high school kid. Nathan had a buzz cut like his dad and he liked to laugh, big belly laughs. He wasn't laughing now. His eyes were wide and shifting nervously, and he was puffing. Tate was the only one who stayed calm when they heard the low, sad sound of the coming train.

"The Midnight Express," Tate said, peering down the tracks. "It wakes me up almost every night. Atlanta to Chicago.

"Like clockwork."

They all scrambled back down the bank into the rocky ditch, and Tate chewed her gum and nudged them both and asked, "You got a penny?"

"A penny?" Troy said.

Nathan dug intohis pocket and came up with a nickel.

"That'll work," she said, taking it from him and scrambling back up the side of the railroad bed.

The ground underneath them was rumbling now. The train's light glimmered and shook. Troy yelled at her to come back. She set the money down on the rail, glared at the train for a moment with her hands on her skinny hips, then hopped back down into the ditch with them.

When the train went by in a rush of hot air, it roared so loud, Troy had no idea what Tate was saying, even though he could see that she was shouting at the top of her lungs. As the last car clacked away down the tracks, he asked her what.

"You see how big that thing was? It's like a warning, right? Like 'go back,' " she said.

Her dark eyes sparkled in the moonlight. Nathan had his hands deep in the pockets of his cutoff shorts, and he nodded at her words. Troy thought about the rabbit he heard screaming in the dark.

"Don't go," he said, shrugging. "I'm not making you."

"We're not going in," Tate said, snapping her gum. "I said that. But we'll wait for you on the outside. That's what friends do. Moral support."

"You shouldn't stand on the tracks when the train's coming like that," Nathan said.

"Aw," she said, swatting air, "if they see a person, they slow right down. Jam their brakes on. Sparks everywhere."

She skipped up the bank again and lifted the flattened nickel up for them to see. It shone in the moonlight.

"Cool," Nathan said, taking it from her.

Troy went up and over the rail bed, leaving them behind.

"Don't you want to see it?" Tate asked, calling afterhim.

But his eyes were on the wall. Already through the trees he could see it. Ten feet high. Cool gray concrete. It surrounded the Cotton Wood Country Club. Tennis, golf, and five hundred of the most expensive homes in Atlanta. He had driven down Old River Road once, past the massive front gates and guardhouses on the other side. When he asked his mom if she'd ever been inside, she glanced at him and said it wasn't a place for people like them. She said he shouldn't spend his time wondering or worrying about it.

Football Genius. Copyright ? by Tim Green. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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