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June 11, 2011

Pop by Gordon Korman

Balzer + Bray; Reprint edition (January 18, 2011)

Okay, this one took me a little longer to read because I couldn’t resist starting the sequel to Demon King and because ending the school year always takes a lot of my spare time and energy, but I finished it yesterday morning so here is the long-awaited review…

Summary: When high school junior, Marcus Jordan, moves from Kansas to New York State, the only good thing his new town has going for it is the Raiders, the high school’s championship football team. Marcus quickly learns that being the new guy in town does not necessarily get him the right kind of attention. Marcus is despised by the entire close-knit football team and the only person who gives him any positive attention is the head cheerleader…but it is pretty obvious that she is really trying to get someone else’s attention.

The only person in Marcus’ new town who seems to accept him is Charlie, the mysterious guy who shows up in the park and teaches him a thing or two about the game he thought he had down. Who is this guy who can throw a football like nobody’s business, not to mention tackle like a pro? Will Marcus ever be accepted by the Raiders and the rest of Kennesaw for that matter?

The Good: Pop shows how much you can learn from the most unlikely friendship. This is the kind of book with a lot of twists, turns, and surprises. It is pretty obvious from the beginning that there is something unusual about Charlie. Once the pieces started coming together there were lots of “ah ha” moments, but it is hard to say too much about the book without giving away some important surprises. You are just going to have to trust me on some of this…it really is a good book with lots of unexpected plot twists.

The Bad: Okay, for me, this was one of those books that I had to make myself read. I like most genres, but I have to admit that sports just are not my thing (says the girl who is afraid of having balls fly at her face). There is a lot of description about football moves and plays that went over my head. That being said, once I got past the fact that I got enough high school football during high school (marching bad will do that to you), the book is still a very good book.

The Ugly: Marcus seems to be very impulsive and does some things that I would not approve of if he were my son. He is also led by Charlie to pull some pranks that were downright mean. Marcus has a Vespa scooter and he has a tendency to run off  without letting his mom know where he is. Here’s the thing, this book is fiction. Just because Marcus does some things that he shouldn’t, doesn’t mean that you should! Enjoy the book, and be smarter than Marcus!

Also, there is one high school party scene in which under age students are drinking alcohol. Marcus does not drink the beer that is given to him. Like I said, the book is fiction…be smarter than that!

The Awesome: As I said earlier, I can’t say too much without giving away major parts of the book so I am going to have to be a bit vague here. I think that this book shows a side of mental illness that we do not often see. It also makes it clear that we need to use proper safety measures when playing sports. This this book has a very unexpected and emotional twist at the end.

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