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Good As Gone
Douglas Corleone
Timothy Miller

Game Changers (Game Changers Series #1)

Game Changers: Book 1 - Mike Lupica This middle grade novel had great football action. Football fans will be playing right along with Ben McBain and the rest of the Rams. Ben is the one telling this story. He is crazy for sports and good at them as long as it is speed and savvy that is needed. But Ben has a problem; he is small. He barely makes the 100 pound limit for his level of Pop Warner football. He has everything he needs to be the quarterback except size. Unfortunately, size counts in the quarterback position and the Shawn O'Brien, the son of the team's coach, gets the job. Ben is a team player though and is determined to help Shawn be the best quarterback he can be. Only Shawn doesn't want to be quarterback, doesn't have fun playing football, and is only playing because he doesn't want to disappoint his dad who was a former pro quarterback. It is really hard for Ben to help someone who has the job he wanted and who doesn't really want it at all. It also didn't help that his two best friends on the team weren't willing to help Shawn be better because they felt Shawn wasn't making any effort to be a good team player. Ben is torn between helping Shawn and pleasing his friends. I liked the sports action. I liked Ben's emphasis on being a good teammate. I really liked that Ben was a reader as well as an athlete. I liked that one of his best friends was a girl and a smart one at that. I liked that two of his other best friends were as crazy about sports as he was and were also his teammates. And I liked that the parents in the story were all good people who were present for their kids. Although I did think that Shawn's dad was a little blind to what his son really wanted and was very busy trying to make Shawn into the player that he wished he had been. What bothered me a little was that Ben sounded more like a philosophical 40-year-old than and 11-year-old. I think that he could have shown a little more disappointment for not making the team as a quarterback and a little more resentment that Shawn did. Things get really tense between Shawn and Ben after Ben is put in at quarterback in the third game of the series and manages to engineer a big comeback win. It takes a while for things to work out including Shawn doing something really hard.This was a nice story about nice kids that I look forward to sharing with my middle graders this fall.