Game Changers (Game Changers Series #1)

Game Changers (Game Changers Series #1)

4.1 49
by Mike Lupica
     
 

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Mike Lupica delivers a New York Times bestselling middle grade series!

Ben McBain is every football team's dream player. He's a jack-of-all-trades guy that can handle almost any position. When the game is on the line, Ben's number is the one being called for the final play. But Ben wants to be the starting quarterback and the one thing standing in his way is the

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Overview


Mike Lupica delivers a New York Times bestselling middle grade series!

Ben McBain is every football team's dream player. He's a jack-of-all-trades guy that can handle almost any position. When the game is on the line, Ben's number is the one being called for the final play. But Ben wants to be the starting quarterback and the one thing standing in his way is the coach's son.

Shawn O'Brien looks the part. He has been groomed by his father, a former professional quarterback. But despite his size and arm strength, Shawn is struggling.

Ben is torn between being a good teammate and going after his own dream. As Ben finds out, Shawn isn't the easiest person to help. And when Ben gets an unexpected opportunity, the entire game will change for the both of them.

Best-selling author Mike Lupica kicks off a winning new series about sports and friendship that will captivate readers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this series opener, Lupica offers another sports hero who must prove himself to coaches who can’t see beyond his short stature. Ben McBain’s father played college football with Doug Flutie, who at 5-ft.-9-in. was the smallest player ever to win the Heisman. Ben has inherited his father’s athleticism but, unfortunately, his petite mother’s build: at age 11, he hasn’t yet cracked five feet. He’s also got the coach’s son, Shawn, filling the spot he wants: quarterback. When Shawn chokes under pressure during the first two games, Ben, an uncommonly mature tween with an encyclopedic knowledge of famous moments in gridiron history, is torn between helping a teammate and hoping he’ll be called on to replace him. The contemporary setting (kids carry cellphones) has a 1950s feel: Ben’s mother knows nothing about sports, is home whenever Ben returns from school, and is always available to make lunch or brownies for Ben and his pals. The on-field action is well described right up through the formulaic ending, which finds Ben in the Flutie role during the championship game. Ages 7�11. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (May)
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In praise of Game Changers

"Ben is a strong character, surrounded by a great group of sidekicks. Readers who, like Ben, live and breathe football, will enjoy." -Kirkus Reviews

"Lupica's football action engages, and his delineation of the athlete's thought process and emotional highs and lows of competition feels visceral and real." --Kirkus (Review of Million Dollar Throw)
"Lupica is at his best when he puts the reader right in the center of the action..." --Booklist (Review of Summer Ball)

Children's Literature - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Ben McBain wants to be a quarterback in the middle school football league. He is smart, he is talented, he should be every coach's dream except he is short and he is on a team where the coach's son is also able to play quarterback. Ben has followed the career of NFL quarterback Doug Flutie, so he is well aware of the difficulties he will have in getting coaches to look at him as anything other than a good support player. But Ben is more than just a good athlete, he is also a good kid and when he recognizes that the coach's son doesn't have many friends, he tries to rally his best buddies, Sam, Cooper and Lily to be Shawn's friend, too. As Ben gets closer to Shawn, Shawn confesses that quarterback is not the position he wants to play but he swears Ben to secrecy and on the field he continues to act as though he really wants to be the team quarterback. Ben is confused, the team is in trouble and Shawn starts to treat him like dirt. The one thing that Ben does have going for him is that he is able to talk to his dad and in one of those bonding moments, Ben decides just how he is going to make sure that it all works out—for the team and for Shawn. This is bound to be another of Lupica's well-read sports books for middle school students. Reviewer: Janis Flint-Ferguson
Kirkus Reviews
Ben's love of football forces him to overcome his disappointment at losing the role of starting quarterback to the coach's son. Ben McBain may not be the biggest player on his Pop Warner football team, but he has the greatest desire to win. Ben idolizes former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie, who was considered to be too small for the position but who played bigger than his height. He fights bitterness at being overlooked for his dream position, both due to his size and because his coach has determined that his own son, Shawn, will quarterback the team. Coach O'Brien, a former professional player, is set on his son's duplicating his path, not realizing the pressure Shawn feels. Shawn's response makes him a terrible teammate and threatens to turn the group of talented players into losers. Ben reaches out to Shawn, trying to save their season, but just when he thinks he is making progress, one of Coach O'Brien's game decisions causes a rift between the players. This action-packed story not only delivers plenty of good football plays, but also explores the consequences of parents living vicariously through their children. Ben is lucky: His father, while encouraging, is more low-key. Ben is a strong character, surrounded by a great group of sidekicks. Readers who, like Ben, live and breathe football, will enjoy. (Fiction. 7-11)
School Library Journal
Gr 4�7—Ben McBain, 11, knows that he has what it takes to be a great quarterback, although he can't convince his coaches to see beyond his small stature. So he's not surprised when Coach O'Brien tells the team that his own son, Shawn, will get the position. Outwardly, Shawn has it all-the size, the arm, the speed. But he doesn't have a deep love for the game, and, when plays don't go perfectly, he spirals out of control. Determined to make the season the best it can be regardless of the position he plays, Ben tries to befriend the temperamental boy. Shawn slowly opens up about the pressure he feels from being coached by his father, a retired NFL player, and how he can't relax and enjoy the moment. When the team loses the first two games of the season and Coach O'Brien puts Ben in as quarterback halfway through the third game, the Rams go on to win. This is the start of a turnaround for the team, and further wins put the championship back in their sights. But as their team does better, Shawn retreats into sullenness and wants nothing to do with Ben. While the ending of this engaging story is predictable, Lupica has a great ear for dialogue, and even the minor characters are fully developed. The tone is inspiring without crossing into didacticism, and there is plenty of football action throughout.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545381826
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
05/08/2012
Series:
Mike Lupica's Game Changers Series, #1
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
515,197
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile:
870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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