Football Genius

Tim Green, Author . HarperCollins $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-112270-5

Adult author and former Atlanta Falcon Green (American Outrage ) delivers a satisfying YA debut, using his own NFL experience to bring readers behind the scenes. Twelve-year-old Troy White’s athletic ability and his preternatural talent for predicting football strategy are both going to waste (he’s stuck playing second-string on his team), until frustration with a vicious bully on his team pushes him to “borrow” an official NFL football from local Atlanta Falcons star linebacker Seth Halloway. As Troy languishes on his own football team and resents the father who abandoned him, he strives to alert the Falcons of his gift: “Sometimes a kid’s heart tells him to do something and he needs to listen, even if it means getting in trouble.” Acting as a mentor, Seth encourages Troy to come clean about his adventures (“The truth is more important than the trouble it brings”) and to forgive his father’s desertion (“All I know is, things happen. Unless you’re the one they’re happening to, you usually can’t understand it”). Seth ends up dating Troy’s mother and coaching Troy’s team, giving Troy the chance to shine not only on the sidelines, where his play-predicting ability helps bring the Falcons to victory, but on the field as well. “There was no rage fueling him now. It was something else, a blinding energy he never knew he had.” Non-sports fans will root for underdog Troy (“I want to do something. I want to be something. I thought this was my chance”) and enthusiasts will thrill to the firsthand knowledge Green brings to the novel. Ages 10-up. (July)

Reviewed on: 07/09/2007
Release date: 08/01/2007
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 244 pages - 978-0-06-112272-9
Paperback - 244 pages - 978-0-06-112273-6
Hardcover - 291 pages - 978-1-4104-0497-8
MP3 CD - 978-1-5012-3590-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-5012-3751-5
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