Home of the Braves [NOOK Book]


What makes an average American high school suddenly become violent?

As Joe Brickman heads into the fall of his senior year, he's looking forward to the soccer season, when he will captain the Lawndale team. And surely this will be the year when he and his neighbor Kristine stop teasing each other and begin dating. But scary, unpredictable things start happening at Lawndale High. It's hard to tell what touches off the storm. Is it the arrival...
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Home of the Braves

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What makes an average American high school suddenly become violent?

As Joe Brickman heads into the fall of his senior year, he's looking forward to the soccer season, when he will captain the Lawndale team. And surely this will be the year when he and his neighbor Kristine stop teasing each other and begin dating. But scary, unpredictable things start happening at Lawndale High. It's hard to tell what touches off the storm. Is it the arrival of Antonio Silva, a.k.a. the Phenom, a Brazilian soccer star who transforms the Lawndale Braves into a contender, and in doing so clashes with football players? Is it the shake-up of the social order in the school, when the Phenom starts dating Kris, and soccer becomes the "in" sport? Is it the brutal humiliation of Joe's best friend, Ed "the Mouse" McBean, and is Ed planning on taking some dark revenge on the entire school? Perhaps it's all of these new twists, and something older. As violence and danger escalate and school officials clamp down with zero tolerance, Joe finds himself searching for the courage to break free from the forces that threaten to take him down with the home of the Braves.

In his powerful and timely new novel, David Klass dramatizes the many ways in which past violence returns to haunt the present.

Eighteen-year-old Joe, captain of the soccer team, is dismayed when a hotshot player shows up from Brazil and threatens to take over both the team and the girl whom Joe hopes to date.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Klass (You Don't Know Me) throws a lot at his protagonist, Joe, a suburban New Jersey high school senior who is captain of his school's losing soccer team, the Braves. While Joe is sympathetic, the unclear trajectory of the narrative and predictable outcomes will likely discourage readers. "The Phenom," a Brazilian soccer player, transfers in, becomes the star of Joe's team and wins over Kris, Joe's longtime crush, and Joe is understandably upset. After the Phenom injures a football player in a fight, tensions spark between the "hard [i.e., muscular] guys," football players mostly bused in from Bankside, and the soccer team (and eventually between Bankside and local kids), but Joe plays by teen rules, keeping silent to authorities even after bullies beat up his best friend, Ed the Mouse. Heightened security at school and the next attack on the Mouse, compounded by a falling out with Kris, add to Joe's mounting stress. In the end, he must decide whether to fight hard guy Slade, a decision presented as pivotal to shaping his future. The story unfolds very slowly, and the Phenom's role in the book is surprisingly marginal; it's easy to lose track of him occasionally amid Joe's other crises. Some of the plotting, like Joe's unlikely interview for an educational boating expedition, steers this story off course, and even the Phenom's dark secret seems lackluster. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
From The Critics
David Klass is in a class of his own as a creator of likable, complex, believable male high school students. Joe Brickman, narrator and protagonist, is a multi-dimensional high school senior. He is proud of the soccer team that he captains, despite its poor record. He is jealous and suspicious of the new and phenomenally talented soccer player who arrives in time to take the team to the playoffs. He is stifled into inaction when he cannot figure out how to tell his life-long pal and neighbor that he longs for her. He is protective of his intelligent but geeky best friend, Ed the Mouse. He recognizes that his womanizing single father is not perfect, but respects him for trying to seek solutions to problems rather than giving in to defeats. And, although he enjoys working for his dad at the car wash, he questions the wisdom of his choice to pay little attention to his academics and to avoid applying for admission to college. Further, Joe is intelligent enough to realize that the bullying that is allowed at his school is wrong and must stop. When Ed, who is trying to learn to stand up to the "hard guys" is harassed and humiliated by them, Joe begins to fear for Ed's mental state. Eventually, he shares his fears with Ed's dad, who acts quickly to reestablish contact with the son from whom he has become distant. Klass treats high school violence, and the conditions that breed it, subtly yet potently in this captivating novel. Ultimately, he offers hope through the power of friendships, family bonds, and promises of the future. Like his outstanding novel You Don't Know Me (FSG, 2001), Home of the Braves is sure to speak directly to adolescent readers. 2002, Farrar Straus andGiroux, 312 pp.,
— Sissi Carroll
To quote from the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, November 2002: Joe starts his senior year anticipating yet another not-so-hot season as captain of the not-so-hot soccer team—and then Antonio Silva, known as "the Phenom," arrives at the high school. He's a Brazilian soccer prodigy, and when he finally deigns to join the team they start winning as never before, with Antonio as the star, eclipsing Joe. Antonio is good-looking, too, and he starts to date Kris, the girl Joe has wanted to ask out. Joe's world is turned upside-down, and to make matters worse his best friend, Ed the Mouse, has been bullied once too often and seems to be planning a terrifying revenge on the tough guys at school. Always afraid of taking risks, Joe realizes that he must change his ways in order to help Ed and to take charge of his own future. This is much more than just a sports story, and the tale of Joe's gradual, hard-won maturation and moral dilemmas becomes as involving as the sports action. Klass, author of You Don't Know Me and other YA novels, writes convincingly and makes this gritty but ultimately inspiring story come alive, with characters readers will care about. KLIATT Codes: S*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students. 2002, HarperTempest, 355p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Suburban New Jersey's Lawndale High School is plagued with old rivalries, cliques, bullies, and systems that fail to address these problems. Joe Brickman, captain of the soccer and wrestling teams, is trying to find the courage to ask Kristine, his best friend since childhood, out on a date. When a Brazilian soccer star arrives as a transfer student, upsetting the peer-imposed social mores, Joe develops the strength and maturity to handle much more than that. The football thugs loom over Lawndale, requiring marked students to bow their heads when the players pass through the halls. Antonio, totally self-assured and able to defend himself one-on-one, scoffs at the system. When Joe tries to explain how things work, the newcomer is rude and condescending. Joe's nerdy buddy "Mouse" is also marked by the jocks and refuses to play the game. When violence erupts, the administration responds with a zero-tolerance policy. Intervention comes in the form of bars on windows, metal detectors, video monitors, and police in the halls. At a town meeting, parents point fingers, blaming the old issue of busing in students from the wrong side of the tracks, and a near-riot ensues. Antonio sweeps Kristine off her feet; Joe's father hits on every pretty woman in town; Kris's cruel comments force Joe to examine his future prospects; and an inevitable confrontation between him and the bullies' ringleader are just a few of the strands in this multilayered story. Klass's characters are, for the most part, believable teens searching for answers to complex societal and individual issues.-Joanne K. Cecere, Monroe-Woodbury High School, Central Valley, NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
While better written and more psychologically complex than most sports fiction, this compelling offering still follows a standard sports plot: the main character feels threatened by a new, outstanding player on his team. Joe Brickman, a senior at a suburban high school, is captain of his mediocre soccer team and its best player. When Antonio, a Brazilian pro, transfers to Joe's high school and takes up with Kris, the girl Joe likes but hasn't pursued, Joe's life takes a nose-dive. The team starts winning but Antonio gets all the praise, while Kris acts silly and snobbish due to her new relationship. Meanwhile, other students including Joe's closest friend are dealing on a daily basis with vicious bullying, mainly from football players. As narrator, Joe sounds modest but in fact he's unusually physically fit, good with people, and likable, although almost unbelievably tactless when dealing with Kris. He's so clearly courageous that his modesty appears exaggerated, saying things like, "The best way to face danger is to meet it head-on," as he goes to confront the school's most dangerous bully. Soccer fans will enjoy the sports action, while other readers will find the setting convincing and the story engaging. It's too bad that the females are so weak: Kris is passive and gullible; Joe's mother deserted her husband and son years earlier; and Joe's father's new girlfriend carelessly betrays a confidence. While it lacks the brilliance and humor of Klass's You Don't Know Me (2001), overall this is a solid school and sports story that will find a ready audience. (Fiction. 12+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466810426
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 10/30/2002
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 756,757
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • File size: 267 KB

Meet the Author

David Klass has written several other young adult novels, including You Don't Know Me, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. He lives in New York City.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 11, 2008

    Mrs. Hill Class

    Great book! It deals with more high school than the others. David Klass wrote another good book. I recommend to everybody

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2007

    A reviewer

    Home of the Brave is about a school that basically turns into a prison for the students who go there. There are cameras, locked windows, and security lines, all because a student who kept getting picked on brought a gun to school and threatened the student that picked on him, yet the bullying still doesn't stop there. Joe, who is a senior at the school and is the captian of the soccer team that almost always loses, until a new brazilian student comes and joins the team. At the same time dates the girl that Joe really likes 'who also happens to be one of his best friends'. Joe also ends up being in the middle of a town against town battle, who for years have never liked each others company, escpecially at school. I would really recomend this book to young adults who like soccer and school drama along with the bullies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2007

    Good Book To Read You WONT WANT TO STOP

    This book is very touching to anyone with a kind heart. It really relates to any high school.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2005

    Outstanding Book

    This book is my most favorite book ever. I usually never read a book twice, but I have read this book at least 3 times. Anyone high school aged and older can relate to this book. The whole environment and setting of the book is very good. Outstanding book, I recommend it to anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2004

    Home of the Braves captues the setting of high schools today

    Home of the Braves by David Klass is one of the best books that I have ever read. In my opinion, Lawndale High represents the setting of high schools today. There is fighting, cliques, violence, and heartbreak in most high schools. I enjoyed reading this book because I can relate to almost all of the things that happened. However, the characters and conflicts between them are truly what made me want to read this book. Joe really likes Kris and he is about to ask her out but then Antonio comes along and steals her away from him. This is a classic example of heartbreak. In Lawndale High like every other school their are cliques such as the popular clique and the dork clique. Ed, Joes best friend constantly gets picked on and the last thing that the Bankside kids did to him pushed him completely over the edge. The Bankside kids are all in the popular clique and Ed is the dork clique. At the end when Ed moved to Connecticut I was very surprised. I think that this was a great book. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a student in high school because it will be easy to relate to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2004

    pretty good, true to life

    when a senior in high school gets news that a 'phenomneon' has just arrived at school and is going to take over the soccer team and the girl of his dreams, he has to make choices that could determine the future. i really enjoyed this book, it was hard for me to keep it put down. i would recommend this book to someone who likes sports. but me and soccer don't really mix good together.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2004


    This book is a great book you all should read it!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews

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