HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Game Changers: Book 1
Author: Mike Lupica
Cover Illustrator: Phil Falco
Publisher: Scholastic Press, 2012
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Lupica, Mike. Game Changers: Book 1 (published in 2012 by Scholastic Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., 557 Broadway, New York City, NY 10012). Eleven-year-old Ben McBain, though small for his age, is a good, all-around player with his football team, and he really wants to be the starting quarterback. However, Shawn O’Brien, whose father coaches the team and is a former professional quarterback, is chosen. Yet, despite his size and arm strength, Shawn is struggling and wants Ben to help him. So Ben must decide between going after his own dream and being a good teammate. How can Ben and his friends Sam, Coop, and Lily, assist Shawn? Will Ben and Shawn ever become friends? And how can an unexpected opportunity for Ben change the entire game for the both of them? Mike Lupica is one of the most prominent sports writers in America, with a nationally-syndicated New York Daily News column, and is the author of several highly acclaimed sports-based novels for young people.
I am not a big sports fan, so reading sports-based novels has never been a favorite pastime for me. However, I must admit that I enjoyed Game Changers, which is intended to be the first of a new series for middle grade readers. It extols the benefits of friendships among young people, encourages them to do their best with a positive attitude, and illustrates good moral qualities. For example, there is a conversation between Ben and Shawn about the dangers of lying, and I like the way the fact that Ben and his family attend church is mentioned. The euphemistic “heck” is used a few times, and some current slang terms which will seriously date the book for future generations are found, but many of the obnoxious features of much modern youth literature are absent, so most parents will find it a wholesome read for their sports-minded tweens with little that is objectionable. The next book in the series, Game Changers Book 2: Play Makers, is due out in February of 2013.