Readers were first introduced to young football player and fan Troy White in the 2007 bestseller FOOTBALL GENIUS. In the sequel, FOOTBALL CHAMP, author and former NFL player Tim Green complicates Troy’s life with everything professional sports is famous for: concussions, steroids, lies and trick plays. Like the revival of the wildcat play last season in the NFL, Green’s new book about the perils of being a young football genius provides readers with a great story and terrific suspense because it’s never apparent when the trick play is going to happen. The anticipation keeps fans glued to every play and readers furious to turn pages in hopes that the next play or the next chapter will be the sparkling episode that wins the game or finalizes an exciting tale.
Green was a star player in his years with the Atlanta Falcons, and that brilliance carries over into his chapter books for young readers. Older readers will appreciate his writing about the world of professional sports because of his insider knowledge, good and bad, of events and circumstances that add sting and flavor to his stories.
Troy is living the dream life of a 12-year-old little league football quarterback with his favorite Atlanta Falcons player, Seth Halloway, as the coach, his mom Tessa working in public relations for the Falcons, and Troy himself on the sidelines every Sunday sharing his particular talent with the Atlanta coaches. Troy’s special abilities have to be kept a secret, and his youth makes that a challenge for him. He’s been taught that the truth is always the best choice, but when he makes that choice and tells shifty sportswriter Brent Peele about how he sends plays to the coaching staff, it takes a while to straighten things out. As some reporters with a vendetta to settle will do, Troy’s words get twisted. The front page “scandal” gets everyone involved --- from Troy’s best friends Tate and Nathan right up to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Green’s writing continues to represent strong ideas with excellent linguistic and vocabulary choices that will challenge readers ages 8-12, yet the structure of the writing has matured and represents new heights as far as story arcs go. Characters grow and change, good triumphs over bad, and friends stick together in the end. As a sign of a subtle change in his style, however, Green expands on a personal mystery that has affected Troy’s entire life. In the first book, Troy’s father is a distant looming dark cloud on the horizon of everything he does. With the sequel, Troy begins to question the ideal of a father and how having one would make any difference to his life. He doesn’t discuss the subject with his mother, but he will definitely have to after the last page of FOOTBALL CHAMP.
It wouldn’t be surprising to hear about readers camping out on Green’s front yard begging for the next installment of the football books. He sure can leave ’em hanging and wanting more!
Reviewed by Joy Held on June 30, 2009
- Publication Date: June 30, 2009
- Genres: Fiction
- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins
- ISBN-10: 0061626899
- ISBN-13: 9780061626890