With football season scratching at the door, Tim Green’s book FOOTBALL GENIUS is a splendid contribution to the sometimes less-than-readable titles released to capitalize on the traditional fall frenzy. Green takes the idea of football analysis as the science of patterns and grants the gift of “seeing” those patterns to 12-year-old Troy White. Although Troy has a unique talent and is usually a good kid, frustration and peer pressure force him to make some not-so-smart choices that land him in trouble but also exactly where he has always wanted to be --- on the sidelines of a National Football League team.
Troy and his mother, Tessa, live off Rt. 141 down a twisty dirt road in Atlanta, Georgia. Troy and his friends, Tate and Nathan, play junior league football for the Duluth Tigers and get together to trade football cards. When his mom finishes her degree through night school and gets a new job in the public relations department of the Atlanta Falcons, Troy is elated. He trades cards until he has the entire current Falcons starting lineup and segregates everything “non-Falcons” from his bedroom. He becomes a total Falcons fan.
When his mom brings home field passes to Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, Troy is happy --- but what he really wanted was an official Falcons football. Never mind that Troy already stole one from the backyard of star linebacker Seth Halloway. Never mind that Troy tried to return the football but couldn’t get back through the high security wall surrounding the exclusive neighborhood where Halloway lives. Never mind that Troy made a bet with Jamie (Dorito-breath) Renfro at school that if the Falcons lose Sunday’s game, Jamie gets the football that Troy has to return. And never mind that Troy has told his mom a pack of lies and is not sure how to make everything right.
What he is sure about is that he can look at how an opposing team lines up and tell exactly what they’re going to do next. He can “predict” a team’s plays after watching a few minutes of the game. So he goes to the Dome with his mother where his intuitive skills land him in the arms of two security guards. And his mom gets fired!
As a writer, Green has pacing completely under control as he manipulates scenes and chapters with the grace and finesse of a speedy wide receiver. The story of Troy’s genius coupled with preteen struggle is artfully captured as Green portrays the trials of a boy who wishes he had a father, a winning season for the Falcons, and the chance to show what he can do as quarterback for the Duluth Tigers. This book has it all --- humor, heart and heroes. Football fans will enjoy this winning story.
Reviewed by Joy Held on July 3, 2007
- Publication Date: July 3, 2007
- Genres: Fiction
- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins
- ISBN-10: 006112270X
- ISBN-13: 9780061122705