The Rivalry: Mystery at the Army-Navy Game by John Feinstein, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Rivalry: Mystery at the Army-Navy Game

The Rivalry: Mystery at the Army-Navy Game

4.0 63
by John Feinstein

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Bestselling writer John Feinstein is back with another exciting sports-mystery, this one set behind the scenes at the storied Army-Navy football game.

Teen sportswriters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are thrilled to be covering "America's Game." The Black Knights of Army and the Midshipmen of Navy have met on the football field since 1890, and it's a


Bestselling writer John Feinstein is back with another exciting sports-mystery, this one set behind the scenes at the storied Army-Navy football game.

Teen sportswriters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are thrilled to be covering "America's Game." The Black Knights of Army and the Midshipmen of Navy have met on the football field since 1890, and it's a rivalry like no other, filled with tradition. But this year, the match-up is also filled with intrigue.

For weeks, Stevie and Susan Carol have been spending time at Annapolis and West Point, getting to know the players, and coaches. And the secret service agents. Since the president will be attending the game, security will, of course, be tighter than tight. As the game draws nearer Stevie and Susan Carol can tell that the agents are getting tenser.

But as usual when Stevie and Susan Carol cover a big event--nothing is quite as it seems, and the coaches aren't the only ones calling plays...

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Feinstein's fifth installment about junior sports reporters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson mines his adult nonfiction title, A Civil War (Little, Brown, 1996) for its setting: the annual Army-Navy game, a gridiron classic that traditionally ends the college football season. Considerable time is spent spinning a thread about security and racism because President Barack Obama plans to attend, but the real "mystery" unspools quickly, late in the story. Stevie and Susan Carol share a subtle but sweet chemistry stemming from their shared love of sports as well as their experiences as 14-year-old reporters, whose credibility as observant insiders is rarely questioned by adults. Feinstein's respect for both West Point's cadets and the midshipmen of Annapolis is evident, making this a good choice for kids with an interest in the military, but the most enthusiastic audience will be readers who devour Sports Illustrated the moment it arrives. Feinstein unloads on corrupt officiating and the professionalization of college sports, and he writes cameos for a parade of sports stars and the reporters who cover them, creating a rousing backdrop for this light but engaging read. Ages 10–up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Michele C. Hughes
High school freshmen Susan Carol and Steve are at it again, this time turning their journalistic efforts on the emotionally charged Army-Navy college football game. With an eye for detail and the courage to ask the hard questions, they jump right into the fray to find a good story. Susan Carol's article on officials' bad calls during a previous Navy game causes quite a stir, but proves to be important in ways she never imagined. As the story unfolds, Susan Carol and Steve experience the drama of securing the stadium for the president's presence and finding out whether someone will make an attempt on his life. When a player's family is linked with a hate group, Susan Carol is caught between a matter of national security and her journalistic inquisitiveness. There are a few sparks (however small) between Susan Carol and Steve, but really their relationship is best described as affectionate and friendly. Told in present time alternating with flashbacks of what led up to the big game, this story contains details that will either delight or bore the reader. From what to expect at a military football game to football strategy to football rules to Secret Service procedure, the author has certainly done his homework. There are several famous people who figure into the story and have been fictionalized, such as Bob Woodward, Brent Musburger, and President Obama. Their characterizations are understated and believable. Like many stories in the mystery genre, this book doesn't offer much of a window to what the characters are feeling, although there's plenty of insight into their thoughts about what's happening on the field and interpersonally. Reviewer: Michele C. Hughes
VOYA - Mary Ann Harlan
Stevie and Susan Carol are back to report on a major sporting event, this time the Army-Navy game. As teenage sideline reporters, they have a knack for uncovering unsavory and illegal stories surrounding the event and its participants, and The Rivalry is no exception. The Army- Navy game is steeped in tradition; it is also an opportunity for a number of things to go wrong, particularly since the President will be in attendance. Stevie and Susan Carol follow the teams and their athletes for two weeks, getting to know the coaches and the players, as well as the security measures taken for the game. Given the threats against the President, this could be the story. Feinstein is a long-time sports writer and brings that experience to the story — as evidenced by name-dropping. David Robinson, Coach K, and Bob Knight all make an appearance. But that experience lends credence to the smaller sporting details of the story. While the story bills itself as a mystery, it doesn't get started until two-thirds of the way through the book, which might disappoint some readers. Readers looking for a solid sports story tinged with excitement will enjoy this book. The game details are exciting, the suspense builds in the last fifty pages, and there is both a satisfying conclusion, and a remaining question. Readers may enjoy this more if they have read the previous Stevie and Susan Carol books, such as Change Up: Mystery at the World Series (Knopf Books, 2009), Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery(Knopf Books, 2005/VOYA February 2005), but it isn't necessary. Reviewer: Mary Ann Harlan
Kirkus Reviews
Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson, intrepid teen sports reporters, are once again teamed up with Bobby Kelleher and Tamara Mearns on a big nationally televised game (Change-up: Mystery at the World Series, 2009, etc.). The football rivalry between West Point and Annapolis is longstanding, and the traditions associated with it, as well as the differences between the military academy programs and regular universities, add much-needed color, as the plot's pace is decidedly slow. Told in chapters that alternate between prior events and the day of the game, the mystery comes slowly into focus. President Obama is attending, and one of the main characters is the head of the Secret Service, providing distraction from the real evildoers. Feinstein continues to use real famous people as characters and provides walk-on roles for golfer Phil Mickelson, reporter Bob Woodward and many others in addition to the president. Fun for those who like the focus on the background of sports rather than the actual game, this is a serviceable entry in the series. (Mystery. 10-14)
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Teen sports reporters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are following the Army and Navy teams for two weeks prior to the football game that is to be attended by the president. Stevies's story focuses on pre-game security, and his research results in the young reporters becoming involved with secret security and the FBI in an investigation which ultimately reveals a complex cover-up and illegal activities. John Feinstein's story (Knopf, 2010) is marred by a slow start, a preponderance of detail, and name-dropping (journalist Bob Woodward, basketball coach Mike Krzyzzewski, etc.) that's not likely to impress listeners. The improbability of two young teens traveling around the country as reporters during the school year challenges credibility. The author reads in an uninspired, rushed monotone. The implications of the illegal activities uncovered at the climax of the story are far to subtle for middle schoolers.—Lisa Hubler, Memorial Junior High School, South Euclid, OH

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Sports Beat Series
Product dimensions:
7.34(w) x 11.14(h) x 0.97(d)
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

JOHN FEINSTEIN is the author of many bestselling books, including A Season on the Brink and A Good Walk Spoiled. His books for young readers offer a winning combination of sports, action, and intrigue, with Last Shot receiving the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best young adult mystery of the year. He lives in Potomac, Maryland, and Shelter Island, New York, with his family.

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