From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of HEAT, TRAVEL TEAM and MILLION-DOLLAR THROW comes a story of every football kid’s dream come true.
12-year-old Charlie is a fantasy football guru. He may be just a bench warmer for his school's football team, but when it comes to knowing and loving the game, he's first-string. He even becomes a celebrity when his podcast gets noticed by a sports radio host, who plays Charlie's fantasy picks for all of Los Angeles to hear. Soon Charlie befriends the elderly owner of the L.A. Bulldogs -- a fictional NFL team -- and convinces him to take a chance on an aging quarterback. After that, watch out . . . it's press conferences and national fame as Charlie becomes a media curiosity and source of conflict for the Bulldogs general manager, whose job Charlie seems to have taken. It's all a bit much for a kid just trying to stay on top of his grades and maintain his friendship with his verbal sparring partner, Anna.
Like the best Disney film in book form, like Moneyball for kids, Fantasy League is every football kid's dream scenario.
“Lupica is the greatest sports writer for middle school readers.” –VOYA
About the Author
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Excerpted from "Fantasy League"
Copyright © 2015 Mike Lupica.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
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What People are Saying About This
Usually a football book is about whether or not the kid makes the team—and the problems that follow. So
it’s refreshing that those issues are only a part of 12-year-old Charlie Gains’ story. See, Charlie is known
as the Brain, because he is a football stats genius. He understands which players should be playing where
and why. This makes him great at fantasy football; then reality comes center stage. His best friend, Anna,
is the granddaughter of Joe Warren, the man who has brought NFL football back to Los Angeles. But the
team, the Bulldogs, haven’t done much, and Joe’s son, the GM, is being blamed. Enter Charlie, who loves
the team and soon comes to love Joe Warren as the father and grandfather he never had. Charlie shares his
massive football knowledge with Joe, and soon players are being recruited at Charlie’s suggestion. Couple
this with the fact Anna has turned Charlie into something of a podcast celebrity, and suddenly Charlie is
catnip for the media. That’s great until things start to go wrong. There’s a lot of football here: pro and
fantasy teams and Charlie’s own Pop Warner career. Veteran sportswriter Lupica handles it all very well.
However, it’s the heart and depth he adds to the story depicting Charlie’s relationships with a sterling cast
of characters that make this unique. This Moneyball story with kids is on the money.
4Q 5P M J
Lupica, Mike. Fantasy League. Philomel/Penguin, 2014. 304p. $17.99. 978-0-399-25607-3.
Twelve-year-old Charlie Gaines, nicknamed the “Brain,” knows everything about football. He watches the games, studies the stats, and sees things professionals seem to miss. His best friend, Anna’s, grandfather, Joe Warren, owns the L.A. Bulldogs, an expansion team with a history of losing. Anna knows almost as much about football as Charlie and they love watching games and talking football, especially how they would turn the Bulldogs around. At Anna’s urging Charlie suggests to Warren that he draft an older quarterback who will probably be dropped by his current team. He is astonished when Warren takes this advice. Word gets out that Warren is taking suggestions from a twelve-year-old and both Charlie and Warren take considerable grief from the media. When Warren acts a second time on Charlie’s advice, the media has a field day. Will these choices prove positive for the Bulldogs? Throughout this, Charlie is also player/assistant coach in a Pop Warner league, not confident that he is talented enough.
Fantasy League by Lupica is the feel good book of the year. Charlie and Anna are truly best friends. It is heartwarming to see a friendship develop between septuagenarian Warren and Charlie, whose father left when he was young. Warren becomes friend/father/grandfather rolled into one. Lupica touches on family, illness, self-confidence, and more in an easy-reading, enjoyable way. While the plot is predictable, the action and characters make Fantasy League a fun read. Primarily geared to boys, female sports fans might enjoy this as well.—Ed Goldberg.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
SUMMARY- Seventh-grader Charlie Gaines was an everyday kid who loved football. Charlie also happened to be a whiz at fantasy football. Charlie’s best friend, Anna happens to be the granddaughter of the owner of a local NFL Football team (a team that isn’t doing really well and is pretty much a laughing-stock). Charlie makes a draft suggestion to Anna’s granddad and Charlie is surprised when her granddad takes him seriously. Soon, the football team starts doing better with Charlie’s suggestions but Charlie isn’t very comfortable with his new-found fame after the media gets wind of what’s been going on. As Charlie learns to cope with the good (and the bad!) of being locally famous, he soon learns things don’t always go the way you plan. Now Charlie is being targeted by the media and it also doesn’t help that his best friend is getting slightly peeved with him… WHAT I THOUGHT- I will be the first to admit, I am not a huge football fan (give me ice hockey and baseball!) and I wasn’t real excited about reviewing this book. After reading the book, I will admit Mr. Lupica has written a football story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hung on every word, the story was that good. The book had a ton of football facts and strategies but I really enjoyed reading all of it because it was mixed into such a great story line. The book isn’t just about football. It is more a story about being true to yourself, and making the most of the moment. It was about making new friends, and having fun with the old ones. It was very realistic and felt like a story that could happen to anyone. All the characters were excellent and each one had their own story behind them. I also liked the fact that Charlie’s best friend is a girl, but he doesn’t see her in any romantic ways – just someone who loves football the same amount that he does. Anna is a great character and it shows that she is as much an expert on football as Charlie. Mr. Lupica has written a wonderful story about so much more than football. *NOTE* I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
This book would be great for a sixth grader
All in all this is a great book, somtimes sad sometimes happy and the best patt is you never know what your ginna get
This book is a very moving and very insparational book It is about a boy named charlie and his freind anna. Charlie is a whiz on football. Anna happens to be the granddauter of the owner of a local sports team that isint doing so well. Charlie happens to give a draft sugjustion and is suprised when he takes him seriosly.annas grandpas team gets better. But charlie makes more sugjustions and the media begins to surround him. I think the book is very good d mike lupica certainly did a good job. I dont have a copy of this on mi Y nook but i want eo
I am a fan of mike lupica and fantasy football
I am lucky that this is fiction because when the Bulldogs won over the 49ers I was not happy. I am a 49er fan. Good news is that two weeks later the niners won vs the Bulldogs. Iam also not happy that that part was fiction. Curse you Mike Lupica!!!!!!!!!