Football Hero (Football Genius Series #2)
  • Football Hero (Football Genius Series #2)
  • Football Hero (Football Genius Series #2)

Football Hero (Football Genius Series #2)

4.6 110
by Tim Green
     
 

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Ty Lewis can't believe it when Coach V recruits him for the football team. This is Ty's big chance to prove how fast he is on the field, get a fresh start in a new school, and be like his older brother, Thane "Tiger" Lewis, who's about to graduate from college—and is being courted by the NFL.

But Ty's guardian, Uncle Gus, won't let him play. Uncle Gus

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Overview

Ty Lewis can't believe it when Coach V recruits him for the football team. This is Ty's big chance to prove how fast he is on the field, get a fresh start in a new school, and be like his older brother, Thane "Tiger" Lewis, who's about to graduate from college—and is being courted by the NFL.

But Ty's guardian, Uncle Gus, won't let him play. Uncle Gus needs Ty to scrub floors and toilets for his cleaning business while he cooks up gambling schemes with the local mob boss, a man called "Lucy."

When Lucy hears just how famous Ty's older brother is, he becomes suddenly friendly. Are the questions Lucy is asking Ty really about fantasy football . . . or is the Mafia using Ty to get valuable insider info from his superstar brother? Desperately worried, Ty must come up with a plan to save Thane's football career—and, ultimately, his life.

Author of the New York Times bestselling Football Genius, former NFL player Tim Green will have you on the edge of your seat rooting for Ty—and enjoying an up-close look at what it's like to be inside the NFL.

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Editorial Reviews

Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA)
“[T]he moral choices faced by the hero are heart-wrenchingly realistic, while the detailed description of the world surrounding the life of a professional football player will appeal to the many fans of the sport.”
KLIATT
AGERANGE: Ages 12 to 15.

In this Cinderfella story of sorts, Ty, age 12, has lived with his nasty uncle and aunt (they make him use an outdoor Porta Potti!) ever since his parents died in an accident. His speed and skills on the football field are making him a star on his school team, despite the attempts of a jealous bully to bring him down, but Ty faces even bigger troubles. His uncle puts him to work scrubbing toilets, including one at a bar where his uncle places bets with a scary mobster nicknamed Lucy. When Lucy learns that Ty’s brother is the famous football player Thane, who’s about to be signed up by the NY Jets, he hatches a scheme to make money from inside knowledge about players’ injuries he wants Ty to obtain from Thane. When everything goes wrong, Ty must come up with a plan of his own to save his beloved brother. Green, a former star linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons, of course nails the exciting football action and behind-the-scenes information. This is even better than his previous YA novel, Football Genius, with lots of fast-moving action and suspense. It’s sure to be a hit with middle school and junior high sports fans, who will root for stoic but plucky Ty and rejoice in the happy ending. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick
March 2008 (Vol. 42, No.2)

Children's Literature - Naomi Williamson
Ty Lewis' life is football. His brother Thane, who is graduating from college is at the top of the NFL draft. Ty is miserable living with his guardians, his Uncle Gus and Aunt Virginia, but does not want Thane to know how bad his life has become. Uncle Gus gives Ty a New Jersey work permit for his twelfth birthday so that he can work in the family cleaning business. He carries an old pillowcase for a backpack, and they have placed an old Porta Potti in the back of the yard for him to use. All Ty wants to do is play football, but he knows that the possibility of that is quickly losing ground. Uncle Gus has a gambling problem and when he involves Ty, things go from bad to worse. In an effort to make things right, Ty learns about real family; that his cousin Charlotte is not what she appears to be, and that his brother really cares about him. Tim Green definitely understands teenagers and he knows boys and football. He has written an exciting and interesting story that will be enjoyed by both genders. Green's Football Genius and Football Hero fill a need for readers who enjoy a good sports story as well as a little intrigue. Reviewer: Naomi Williamson
VOYA - Kathy Starks
In this follow-up to his bestselling debut novel, Football Genius (HarperTeen, 2008/VOYA August 2007), former NFL player Green manages to squeeze such diverse elements as the Mafia, illegal gambling, middle school relationships, toilet-cleaning, and of course, football into one highly readable and fast-paced story. His singular insight into the world of professional football, especially the activities that take place behind the scenes, provides realistic detail that enhances the dramatic story line. Ty is the younger brother of college football star Thane "Tiger" Lewis. Forced by the death of his parents to live with his grudging Uncle Gus and Aunt Virginia, Ty must learn to cope with a life of drudgery and mind-numbing sameness. Working for Uncle Gus's cleaning business keeps Ty from developing his own newfound love of football. When Tiger is drafted by the New York Jets, Uncle Gus attempts to cash in on the brothers' relationship, first by proposing opening a sports bar, and then by introducing Ty to Lucy, one of his mafia-connected clients. Adding to the tension is Ty's antagonistic encounters with Calvin West, the handsome, wealthy bully whose cheap shots on and off the field jeopardize Ty's chances at playing football. The contrasts between Ty's life when he is with Tiger and when he is not are so extreme that they diminish the believability of the story. Furthermore many characters lack complexity-they are either unredeemably awful or heroically good. Ty's football ability seems to be almost miraculous, further straining the reader's credulity. Despite these few shortcomings, the moral choices faced by the hero are heart-wrenchingly realistic, while the detailed description ofthe world surrounding the life of a professional football player will appeal to the many fans of the sport. Reviewer: Kathy Starks
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8- In this novel by a former NFL star, middle schooler Ty Lewis is going through a tough time following the death of his parents. He has been taken in by his aunt and uncle, but they treat him badly, dressing him in hand-me-downs, making him sleep on a mattress on the floor of the laundry room, and forcing him to use a portable toilet in the backyard even though there is a bathroom in the house. Ty is having problems at school as well, where his appearance, social status, and bookishness lead to his being bullied. Through all his troubles, he is buoyed by his faith in his older brother, who is an All-American college football player soon to sign a lucrative pro contract. Ty has his own dreams of football glory after being recruited by the middle school coach, who has noticed that Ty is the fastest boy in the sixth grade. His plans are derailed, however, when his uncle makes him work after school in his cleaning business. After Thane signs his pro contract, Uncle Gus's organized-crime associates press Ty for inside information on injured players on Thane's team, which he innocently supplies. This gets both brothers in trouble with the FBI, but they cooperate with authorities and all ends well. While there are some implausible elements (including Ty's overpowering a crowbar-wielding mafia hitman), the novel is briskly paced and undemanding, and might be a good bet for sports-minded reluctant readers.-Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT

Kirkus Reviews
Instantly gripping, this fast-paced middle-grade thriller set in the worlds of football and professional gambling, puts its 12-year-old protagonist, Ty Lewis, between a rock and a hard place and then proceeds to squeeze. Ty, whose older brother Thane plays college football, has recently lost his parents and now lives with his crass, angry Uncle Gus, who runs a cleaning service that uses Ty and his cousin as its labor force. Gus also has a gambling problem, and one of his accounts is a bar run by a Mafia operative named "Lucy." These worlds collide when Thane is drafted into the NFL, and Uncle Gus sees an opportunity to use Ty to get inside information for Lucy's gambling operation. This, coupled with Ty's own football challenges, keep the tension level high and the pages flipping furiously. Ty has one, maybe even two, too many obstacles to overcome, and Thane is such a paragon of goodness that it almost defies reality, but these are minor quibbles in a work that is sure to have a great many fans. (Fiction. 8-12)
Children's Literature - Heidi Quist
After a lifetime of adoring his near-perfect brother, Ty Lewis finds himself in middle school with some hope for having the same football talents as Thane "Tiger" Lewis. But while Thane is on the road to recruitment by the Jets, Ty faces the abuse of his legal guardian uncle whose mind is on everything but good parenting. Specifically, he thinks it a good birthday present to get Ty a work permit so he can help with the family business: cleaning a bunch of sleazy businesses at night and therefore not playing on the football team. Some turns in events thanks to Sal, a mob-member client of his uncle, Ty does get back to playing, but life does not necessarily get much better. Beyond dealing with his aunt and uncle's forcing him to use an outhouse as opposed to their indoor plumbing, their snootiness at his every uttered word, and their complete disregard for his feelings, Ty's difficulties come from a number of other sources as well. He deals with a school bully, with some undeserved school discipline, and finally with finding himself in the middle of an illegal gambling plan, which includes backstabbing his beloved Thane. The irony is that Thane is largely oblivious to everything his brother is enduring but still Ty finds wisdom in his every word, permitting him to remain highly esteemed in Ty's and the unwitting young reader's mind. Readers who enjoy melodrama, over-the-top stupidity in the villain, and a warped sense of family values will enjoy this audio book, particularly with the various voices that add just the right dose of inanity to the mix. Six CDs.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061122767
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/24/2009
Series:
Football Genius Series, #2
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
72,164
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
840L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Football Hero

Chapter One

Turning twelve didn't matter to Ty. Birthdays, like Christmas and every other holiday, had lost their thrill. Most of the day had already passed without anything special happening and Ty didn't expect that to change. He knew the surprise his aunt and uncle had promised him wouldn't amount to much more than a pair of underwear or a new ax for splitting wood, maybe a blanket. Surprises had a place in his other life, the one before his parents died.

But when Ty grabbed the handrail and stepped up into the school bus, he was surprised when someone yanked him back to earth and spun him around.

"Why weren't you in gym class?"

Coach V had a voice like a growling Doberman, and he scowled down at Ty without easing the stranglehold on his upper arm. Ty's face overheated. He swallowed and looked around. The bus at the front of the line hissed and roared, grinding gears and filling the air with a cloud of diesel fumes.

"I was in Mrs. Brennan's office," Ty said, looking down at the broken line of the curb. Mrs. Brennan was the school psychologist.

The coach ran a hand over the bristles of his dark hair, and his face softened a bit.

"You're not in trouble?" he asked softly.

Ty looked at his blue no-name sneakers and shook his head. "For the accident."

"Does she help?" the coach asked, still soft.

Ty knew that when adults asked questions, they already had the answer they wanted in mind. The right answer wasn't that the death of his mom and dad had left a hole in his heart too big to be helped. The right answer was yes, and that's what he said.

Coach V nodded and turned his big, sharp nose inthe direction of the bus, eyes hiding behind the kind of mirror sunglasses that cops usually wore, the kind that reminded Ty of a housefly.

"We got spring football today," the coach said, turning the insect eyes back at Ty so that he could see two dark-haired boys with glasses staring back in their mirrors. "You interested?"

"Spring football?" Ty asked, blinking and pushing his own glasses back up to the top of his nose.

"It's a club, just for one week," Coach V said. "It lets me get the team together to see where we're at. They didn't have spring football in your old school?"

"I went to Tully. There's no football until you get to high school."

"Small town, huh?"

Ty jumped when his bus driver blared her horn and bellowed out at him, "Let's go!"

"There's a sports bus at five," the coach said.

"You think I could play?" Ty asked.

The coach looked up at the bus driver with a twisted smile and pumped his thumb toward the exit.

"Go ahead, I got him," he said to the driver.

The door slammed shut, and the bus growled away, unleashing the long line of waiting buses to do the same. Ty couldn't hear the coach's words over their roar until they reached the top steps of the school.

"I'm sorry," Ty said. "I didn't hear you."

"Of course I want you to play," the coach said. "You're the fastest kid in sixth grade and I need some deep speed for my passing game."

"I'm not too skinny?" Ty said, glancing down at his thin legs.

"Deion Sanders was skinny, but if you're the fastest man on the planet it doesn't matter."

"Who's Deion Sanders?"

Coach V stopped and looked at him, then shook his head and said, "You're too young."

Ty swung the old pillowcase his aunt made him use for a book bag over his shoulder and hustled to keep up. "My older brother plays football."

"Great," the coach said. He swung open the locker room door and banged his palm on one of the old metal lockers. "Get your gym clothes on and get outside."

"At Syracuse," Ty said, setting his pillowcase full of books down on the scarred wooden bench.

Coach V froze and whipped off his sunglasses as he spun around.

"Not Tiger Lewis?"

"Uh-huh."

"The Tiger Lewis? That's your brother?"

"His real name is Thane. They just call him Tiger."

"How come you never said?"

Ty shrugged and searched for the right answer.

In truth, he kept his older brother a secret because he already got picked on enough for being the new kid at school. Picked on for reading all the time, his glasses, the musty pillowcase he used to carry his books, his canvas grocery-store sneakers, and his skinny legs. He imagined that if he claimed Tiger Lewis for his brother, the kids would either refuse to believe him or they would point out how pitiful he was compared to his all-American brother, the football hero.

In truth, it sometimes seemed to Ty that he only imagined Tiger Lewis was his brother. The two of them were so far apart in age—ten years—that they really didn't know each other that well. Ty had been eight when Thane went off to college. Since then, he only got to see his older brother on holidays or family vacations. Two weeks every summer their mom and dad used to take them camping, once in July, once in August. The memory of those times flashed in his mind, like dreams—being out in a small boat, just him and Thane, or climbing a rocky mountain trail, Thane reaching down to help him, the veins protruding from his muscular forearms.

When they were together, Thane, or Tiger, as everyone called him now, would share his knowledge with Ty. He'd tell stories with lessons and say that he wanted Ty to learn from the mistakes he'd already made. Thane's nuggets of wisdom would come back to Ty at random moments, crashing through his consciousness like a loud commercial in the middle of a television program. When they did, Ty would lose himself for a moment as if in a trance. One of those memories came back to him now.

Football Hero. Copyright (c) by Tim Green . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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