Unstoppable by Tim Green, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Unstoppable

Unstoppable

4.7 50
by Tim Green
     
 

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Inspired by interviews with real-life cancer survivors and insider sports experience, this unforgettable New York Times bestseller shows a brave boy who learns what it truly means to be unstoppable. As National Ambassador for Young People's Literature emeritus Jon Scieszka said, Unstoppable is "absolutely heroic, and something every guy should

Overview

Inspired by interviews with real-life cancer survivors and insider sports experience, this unforgettable New York Times bestseller shows a brave boy who learns what it truly means to be unstoppable. As National Ambassador for Young People's Literature emeritus Jon Scieszka said, Unstoppable is "absolutely heroic, and something every guy should read."

If anyone understands the phrase "tough luck," it's Harrison. As a foster kid in a cruel home, he knows his dream of one day playing in the NFL is a longshot.

Then Harrison is brought into a new home with kind, loving parents—his new dad is even a football coach. Harrison's big build and his incredible determination quickly make him a star running back on the junior high school team. On the field, he's practically unstoppable. But Harrison's good luck can't last forever. When a routine sports injury leads to a devastating diagnosis, it will take every ounce of Harrison's determination not to give up for good.

Editorial Reviews

Jon Scieszka
“Could not put it down. It is so solid, and real, and true. Absolutely heroic. And something every guy should read.”
bestselling author Gordon Korman
“I don’t know anyone -- kid or adult -- who won’t root heart and soul for Harrison. Unstoppable means you can’t put this book down!”
Gordon Korman
“I don’t know anyone — kid or adult — who won’t root heart and soul for Harrison. Unstoppable means you can’t put this book down!”
Booklist
With a sharp intensity fueled by both wrenching events and the main character’s white-hot core of rage, Green sends an abused foster kid blasting his way through daunting challenges on and off the football field. Harrison’s ferocious struggles with inner demons and physical obstacles make absorbing reading.
Los Angeles Times
“The star running back on his junior high school football team is diagnosed with cancer, teaching him the real meaning of bravery and determination.”
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Thirteen-year-old Harrison Johnson dreams of being a football player, but the reality of his life is that he is a cruelly abused foster kid threatened with a belt-beating if he dares to so much as glance at a football game on TV. Even when he is finally placed with a loving foster family, where his new dad coaches junior high football, he is taunted by a mean teacher, bullied by teammates, and woefully inexperienced in the game he has spent his life wanting to play. But Harrison is an almost freakishly huge, strong, fast kid who needs an outlet for his understandable inner rage, an outlet that football supplies. He is unstoppable, on the brink of leading his team to their first-ever championship, until an unexpected medical diagnosis forces him into a battle with his most relentless adversary ever. Bestselling novelist Tim Green, himself a former professional football player, has prodigious storytelling skills, telling Harrison's wrenching story in a hundred short chapters, each ending with a hook like "The first words made him go cold" and "Then everything went dark" (a device that does come to feel manipulative after the sixtieth or seventieth use). Although the novel reads like two novels sandwiched between one cover (the opening problem of finding a family is resolved only to segue into a completely new challenge for Harrison), both halves make for riveting reading, and it's impossible not to root for Harrison to show himself yet again to have earned the label "unstoppable." Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
VOYA - Mark Flowers
In Green's newest football novel, Harrison, a troubled foster child in a new home, a new town, and a new school, struggles with his anger and isolation, finding salvation only in his incredible abilities on the football field. But, just as his team is poised to win a state championship, Harrison is faced with an obstacle much more severe than any defensive lineman. From the specifics of Harrison's background, to the salvation-through-football theme, to the abrupt turn to a darker subject, to something minor like an enemy on the team with a threatening lawyer for a father—the whole set-up bears uncanny resemblance to Cohen's Leverage (Dutton, 2011/Voya February 2011). Even granting that Cohen's work is aimed at a much older audience, the comparison does not flatter Green. Where Cohen is psychologically complex and morally ambiguous, Green is un-nuanced and didactic. Green is also unflaggingly linear in his plotting and development, giving the novel a strangely flattened feeling. Still, these are essentially flaws of design, and it is clearly in execution that Green shines as a writer. His prose, particularly (if unsurprisingly) in his descriptions of football, is muscular and propulsive. Though, as noted, his characters are not deep, they are nevertheless vivid and distinct. If the whole novel seems rushed and predetermined in its pacing, that may well be a positive feature for fans of the genre. All in all, this title is an undistinguished effort, but certainly not an embarrassing one. Reviewer: Mark Flowers
Children's Literature - Krisan Murphy
Read by the author, this audiobook is not the stereotypical football story of a weak kid who gains success and leads his team to victory in the championship. Harrison Johnson, an oversized and muscular middle schooler, has a lifelong history of bad knocks. After unintentionally causing the death of a foster father who was the latest in a long string of abusive situations, Harrison seems to experience the first glimmer of hope when he is placed in foster care with a football coach and his lawyer wife. Finally, the pent-up anger of injustice and pain Harrison carries has an outlet on the football field, and his dream of playing ball becomes a reality. The relationships in this story are vivid, heart-wrenching, and realistic; by contrast, they show the difference between dysfunctional and normal interpersonal relationships. The tension is constant and compelling, driving the plot until Harrison's knee injury reveals a life-threatening disease, bone cancer. The author captures the agony of Harrison, Coach Kelly and his wife, and Harrison's friends as they cope with the one thing that threatens the young boy's dream of a football career as part of a life that has left bad breaks behind. With sheer determination and the help of a Gulf War veteran who lost his leg in battle, Harrison fights to regain his dreams when his leg is amputated. Young boys, athletes, and at-risk children of all ages will eagerly listen to this intense and satisfying story. Reviewer: Krisan Murphy
School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—Harrison has spent his youth passed from one foster home to another. When he is rescued from an abusive couple and placed with the Kellys, things seem almost too good. Mr. Kelly is the JV football coach at Harrison's new secondary school, and Mrs. Kelly is a lawyer. They have always wanted a child of their own, and soon Harrison is calling her "Mom" and playing on Coach's team. In spite of his lack of football experience, he proves unstoppable on the field when he gets the ball in his hands. Not all of his teammates are happy about their new 13-year-old star, and when Leo intentionally injures him during a practice, it just makes Harrison more determined to play. The knee injury doesn't get better, though, and an MRI shows much more than a torn ligament: suddenly, Harrison is being treated for bone cancer. He goes through surgery, requiring the amputation of part of his leg, and then chemotherapy, and he vacillates between depression and anger. Helping him through it are Coach and Mrs. Kelly, as well as Coach's old Army buddy, Major Bauer, who lost a leg in the Gulf War. Even when Harrison wants to push his friends away, they rally around him, and he allows himself to dream of playing football again, inspired by real-life athlete and amputee Jeff Keith. In short chapters with cliff-hanger endings, Green clearly shows the difficulties that the teen overcomes, and the truly unstoppable spirit that resides within him. While the dialogue can be a little mawkish, this is a hopeful story that Green's fans will enjoy.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Harrison has led a hard-knock life up until he's taken in by loving foster parents "Coach" and Jennifer. After he inadvertently causes the man's death, Harrison is taken from a brutal foster home run by a farmer who uses foster kids as unpaid labor, a situation blithely ignored by the county. His new foster parents are different. Coach is in charge of the middle school football team, and all 13-year-old Harrison has ever wanted to do is to play football, the perfect outlet for his seething undercurrent of anger at life. Oversized for his age, he's brilliant at the game but also over-the-top aggressive, until a hit makes his knee start aching--and then life deals him another devastating blow. The pain isn't an injury but bone cancer. Many of the characters--loving friends Justin and Becky, bully Leo, a mean-spirited math teacher, cancer victim Marty and the major, an amputee veteran who comes to rehabilitate Harrison after life-changing surgery--are straight out of the playbook for maudlin middle-grade fiction. Nevertheless, this effort edges above trite because of well-depicted football scenes and the sheer force of Harrison himself. His altogether believable anger diminishes his likability but breathes life into an otherwise stock role. A predictable, fast-paced sports tale with some unexpected heart. (Fiction. 11-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062089571
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/17/2013
Pages:
343
Sales rank:
63,143
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

Gordon Korman

“I don’t know anyone — kid or adult — who won’t root heart and soul for Harrison. Unstoppable means you can’t put this book down!”

Jon Scieszka

“Could not put it down. It is so solid, and real, and true. Absolutely heroic. And something every guy should read.”

Meet the Author

Tim Green, for many years a star defensive end with the Atlanta Falcons, is a man of many talents. He's the author of such gripping books for adults as the New York Times bestselling The Dark Side of the Game and American Outrage. Tim graduated covaledictorian from Syracuse University and was a first-round draft pick. He later earned his law degree with honors, and he has also worked as an NFL commentator for FOX Sports and NPR.

His first book for young readers, Football Genius, inspired in part by his players and his own kids, became a New York Times bestseller and was followed by Football Hero, Football Champ, The Big Time, and Deep Zone. He drew on his experiences playing and coaching Little League for Rivals and Pinch Hit and two more New York Times bestsellers: Baseball Great and Best of the Best.

Bestselling author Jon Scieszka called Tim Green's Unstoppable, a book about a boy's struggle with cancer that debuted at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, "Absolutely heroic. And something every guy should read."

Tim Green lives with his wife, Illyssa, and their five children in upstate New York.

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