cover image The Walk On

The Walk On

John Feinstein. Knopf, $16.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-385-75346-3

Freshman Alex Myers believes he’s destined for gridiron greatness, graced with an unnaturally strong and accurate throwing arm. But when his parents’ divorce means starting school in a new town, he learns the quarterback position is already taken—by the coach’s son. The tyrannical head coach wants to win, but not at the expense of his son’s playing time. This first installment in the Triple Threat series follows roughly the same formula as Feinstein’s Sports Beat mysteries: lots of play-by-play action, sensational plot developments, and an attractive, whip-smart, sports-crazy romantic interest for Alex. Feinstein skillfully captures the mania that surrounds high school football, but does so uncritically, making it easy to see how high school athletics can become breeding grounds for entitlement. Though Alex’s chances of getting to play are never in doubt, his path—injury, fake injury, doping—takes some highly improbable routes. Fans of sports fiction won’t care about that, but an ending that leaves the outcome of the Big Game hanging might make them impatient for resolution, presumably coming in the next book. Ages 10–up. Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM. (Sept.)