Saturday, March 23, 2013

THE UNDERDOGS by Mike Lupica

I borrowed this one from one of my students the other day.  I love it when kids have parents who spend money on books!

THE UNDERDOGS by Mike Lupica has Will Tyler trying to save football for the twelve year olds in his town.  After a solitary workout on the town field left him stumbling when his foot landed in a hole in the neglected turf, Will decided he wasn't going to sit back and accept the fact that their team would not be able to play this year.

Forbes was hit hard by the economic recession.  The famous athletic shoe company in town closed leaving the community devastated.  What money is available barely sustains the high school football program much less a program for younger players. 

Will has real talent according to anyone who has seen him play, and he doesn't want to give it all up because finances have dried up.  He takes a chance and writes a letter to New Balance and makes a plea he hopes will save the team.  A return letter arrives with news that New Balance will sponsor the team, and Will gets down to business recruiting players.

Unfortunately, building a team isn't as easy as Will thought.  Finding a coach seems impossible and fielding even eleven players proves to be a challenge.  Will's pleading finally convinces his father to be their coach, but when the eleventh player Will succeeds in recruiting turns out to be a girl, it might be more than the new team can tolerate.

Author Mike Lupica once again takes readers into the heart of sport.  Young football/sports fans will easily champion Will Tyler as he battles to revive a sagging team in a dying town.  Good play by play action combined with behind the scenes tension make THE UNDERDOGS hard to put down.

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