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Wrestling Sturbridge

Wrestling Sturbridge

3.8 19
by Rich Wallace

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The critics' votes are in--Wrestling Sturbridge is a winner!  Now available in rack-sized paperback.


The critics' votes are in--Wrestling Sturbridge is a winner!  Now available in rack-sized paperback.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"It's a riveting story...Wallace weighs his words carefully, making every one count in this excellent, understated first novel"--Booklist, starred review.

"There are only a few contemporary writers who can hit the mark with teenage boys, and Rich Wallace, with his first novel, seems likely to join that group...You don't need to know or like wrestling to become quickly engaged with this story."--Chicago Tribune

"The sports angle makes this a great "guy's" book, while the gripping narrative and feisty heroine will appeal to young women, too.  A real winner"--Publishers Weekly, starred review.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Anyone even remotely curious about small-town America need look no further than this exemplary first novel. Wallace's clipped, gently sardonic prose captures it all, from the red-faced former jocks in the wrestling booster club, to the teens with nothing to do but drink (a lot) and drive in an endless loop through town, to the Saturday night polka party on public TV. Narrator Ben, a high school senior, doesn't want to be like his father and so many others in Sturbridge, Pa., who after graduating get a job at the cinder block plant. Seemingly his only alternative is to become a state wrestling champion and thus win an athletic scholarship. But his way is firmly blocked by his buddy Al, who reigns supreme in their weight class, and Ben is relegated to the ignominy of being Al's practice partner and a benchwarmer during tournaments. Enter Kim, a Puerto Rican track enthusiast transplanted from New Jersey. Despite their close relationship, Kim won't put up with Ben's self-pitying, defeatist attitude. Wallace isn't writing a sports fairy story, so Ben doesn't achieve his goal; much more believably, he feels like a winner because he finally tries with all his might. The sports angle makes this a great "guy's" book, while the gripping narrative and feisty heroine will appeal to young women, too. A real winner. Ages 12-17. (June)
The ALAN Review - Donald R. Gallo
With this first novel, Rich Wallace has earned himself a top ranking among the best writers of young adult sports novels. This relatively short book is filled with vivid action scenes along with thoughtful introspective musings by the vulnerable narrator, a high-school senior who has been the second-best wrestler in his weight class in a small-town Pennsylvania high school. Ben wants to be state champion as much as the first-best wrestler, his friend Al. But does he have enough courage to challenge - and beat - Al? And if he doesn't beat Al and go on to college, will Ben remain stuck in Sturbridge for the rest of his life, working in the cinderblock factory like his dad and all the others? You don't have to like wrestling to appreciate this novel, though sports-minded males will likely be this book's most appreciative readers.
VOYA - C. Allen Nichols
On the surface this book is about a high school wrestler who just can't crack the surface and beat his best friend for a spot on the team. Beneath the surface, however, is where the real action takes place. Ben is stuck in the small town of Sturbridge, where the year is spent waiting for the high school wrestling season and everyone works for the cinder block factory. Ben's best friends all are starters on the team, and he so happens to be in the same weight class as one of them. That friend is looking for another trip to the state championship, and Ben, a very good wrestler in his own right, has been labeled the best workout partner one could possibly have. Ben's frustration on the mat is only one of the challenges he is facing; others are determining his place in life (hopefully away from Sturbridge and the cinder block factory), figuring out his new girlfriend (an intelligent young woman if there ever was one), and trying to decide how badly he wants to be a state champion. Don't let the idea of wrestling turn you off this exciting and well-done story. Wallace has written a gem that deals with the gritty emotions of being a teenage boy who matures into a man. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 8 UpBen, a senior at Sturbridge High School, is one of the best 135-pound wrestlers around. Unfortunately, a contender for the state championship in that weight category goes to the same school. Relegated to sitting on the bench, Ben yearns for a chance to prove himself on the mat while at the same time he "wrestles" with his feelings about his family and friends, girls, and the future. Wallace makes a splendid debut, penning a novel that adolescent readers will find both entertaining and thought-provoking. Ben, who narrates the story, describes his small northeastern Pennsylvania town as a place where "civic pride revolves around the high school wrestling team, and the future is as bright as the inside of the cinder block factory where our dads work." He's vowed not to follow the path of most of the local malestoiling at the factory and joining the wrestling booster club. The teen is equally determined to take the 135-pound wrestling spot from his teammate Al. As Ben grapples with some major issues, with the help of his Puerto Rican girlfriend, who's much wiser than her years, he also squares off with Al on the mat in a page-turning match to see who'll represent their team in the upcoming tournaments. The resolutions to all Ben's battles will ring true to readers who will anxiously await the author's next book. Promote this title to the fans of Bruce Brooks, Chris Crutcher, and Chris Lynch.Tom S. Hurlburt, La Crosse Public Library, WI

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.35(w) x 6.86(h) x 0.43(d)
850L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

  Rich Wallace lives in Wayne County, Pennsylvania. He has worked as a sportswriter and news editor, and is now the coordinating editor of Highlights for Children magazine. He coaches his sons' youth sports teams year-round, including soccer, basketball, and track and field.

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Wrestling Sturbridge 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wrestling Sturbridge By: This book is about a young boy who is on a wrestling team in a High School in a place called Sturbridge. The boy goes with the team every where they have a tournament and gets to wrestle but not a lot. The boy has a friend called Al. They have been best friends for a long time. Both boys are on the JV team. One tournament the boy gets to go in and wrestle one of his rivals from the other team. So about twenty minutes later the boy gets his rival down on the ground and pins him 1-2-3. So all of his buddies and family starts running towards him and lifts him up on their shoulders celebrating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wrestling Sturbridge was boring, stupid, and hard to understand. I hated it and I don't reccomend it to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wrestle or Die Ben is a 135 pound wrestler. Al is also a 135 pound. Digit is a 130 pound. Hatcher is a 140 pound. Digit, Al, and Hatcher are all starters. All of them have been friends since the 6th grade. Ben either has to gain and maybe beat Hatcher or dry out and be too weak to beat Digit. So, what does he do? He stays at 135. He tries to beat Al every week but AL is too tough for him to beat. AL gets into trouble from doing something at school. So automatically Ben gets to wrestle in a tournament placing 1st. The next week Ben and Al has to wrestle off again. This week is just no wrestle off this is to have a spot at districts. Ben is down five to nothing early. He gets an escape point at the end of the second period. The beginning of the third period Ben starts on top. The score is ten to five. The last 30 seconds Ben puts a half nelson in and has Al three inches form the mat. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1⿦⿦.. Does Ben pin Al or does AL win by points?????? Read the book and find out if Ben goes to districts or Al!!!! I liked the book because it has to deal with real life and is very out there. The kids of Sturbridge all want to be like the varsity wrestlers. And if you don⿿t wrestle you aren⿿t that popular in school. What I didn⿿t like about the book is that everything in the wresting is about Al and I don⿿t like how it all evolves around AL and he is like the whole team and everyone likes him so much. No one talks about anyone else and no one really cares about anyone else but Al.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book qutie a bit, i aint no wrestler, i play football, we dont got a wrestling team here in Bighorn, but it inspired me. I would recomend this book to anybody who enjoys sports and/or wrestling.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wrestling Sturbridge is about a high school wreslter named Benny, and his journey to become the state champion in his one hundred and thrity-five pound weight class. The only person stopping him is the best wrestler in the state who is also one of Benny's best friends. Al, Digger, Hacther, and Benny all grew up together. They wrestlered in middle school, and its there senoir year they all have one final shot to become state champs. Will Benny defeat Al for his shot at being state champion, or will benny realeaize that wrestling isn't his thing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i enjoyed this book quite a bit, considering that this wuz my first year wrestling and i am new to the sport, this book was kind of like my bible, and i read it many times when i didnt want to keep going, matburn can be brutal sometimes. i recommend this book to anyone who either wrestles or would like to start wrestling.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wrestling Sturbridge was a very good book for a first. The book is an easy book to read and an easy book to understand if you are a young adult or just a kid. To me the book was very interesting but you may have a diffrent opinion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wrestling Strubridge is an excellent book! It tells the story of a highschool student who "wrestles" with his life. This is a story most people can relate to. I enjoyed reading this book because the main character and I share similar traits. We both wrestle. This book was interesting because it was almost written like a journal. In between chapters he lists things that appeal to him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a fifteen year old boy in tenth grade that has been wrestling for nine years now. I don't expect many people to understand a wrestler's life (being from Western NY), but this book would be an excellent start for those who wish to do so. Not all wrestler's will win a state title, but will train just as hard as one. This book teaches an excellent moral of achieving your goals, without letting anyone disrupting them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked the book becouse the book had a lot of detals and had a lot of ideas to. This book would be a good book for someone with interest in wrestling, but it didn't interest me all that much becouse the writter Didn't get to the point. Thats why I give this book Three stars and not five. Rich Wallace is a very good writter that is why I read his books a lot.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i thought it was a good book ben had a challange to beat beat his friend and it cant always go your way thats why i enjoyed it
Guest More than 1 year ago
I used to wrestle so i felt this book related rather well to me. The book tends to take long walks in defferent directions which is ok because it creates a more interesting story. Basically the story is about a highschool boy thats on a wrestling team along with 3 of his best friends and he is stuck in a weight category problem between all of his friends which forces him to have to work hard if he wants to make it to districts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this well enough, but my favorite high school wrestling story is 'Takedown,' by E.M.J. Benjamin, which seems to 'get' the sport better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the perfect portrayal of a teenager and he tells the story so well, I'm a girl and I loved it, my boyfriend (who is a wrestler) loved it, and my brother (who coaches wrestling) loved it. It's a good book and very realistic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very nice book, one of the best on wrestling, but a bit too corny. Lightly covers some topics, while other more current novels on wrestling get into the darker side.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In `Wrestling Sturbridge¿, Rich Wallace accomplishes what Hemingway rarely achieved; the distillation of language to it¿s purest essence. With bluntly simple prose and dialogue one can appreciate as one would a haiku, and the book¿s bare bones plot about high school wrestlers bound and torn by camaraderie and competition, Wallace has more to say about the young (and not so young) American male than any writer working today (paging Susan Faludi). Reading it from the vantage point of adulthood, makes one yearn even for the pains of adolescence. My only complaint is the book¿s mislabeling. It is not a novel about wrestling. It is not a young adult novel. It is simply, a great American novel