Monday, August 29, 2016

GUTLESS by Carl Deuker

Brock was a soccer player, an excellent goalkeeper, to be exact. It wasn't until he met Hunter that he considered playing football, and it wasn't until he met Richie that he considered playing chess.

Brock wasn't sure what his freshman year would have to offer. He was worried about his dad who had just been diagnosed with a disease that would gradually take away his ability to walk. Soccer wasn't as exciting as it used to be and his old friends seemed to be finding new interests.

The day Brock met Hunter at the park changed everything. Before he knew it, Hunter's dad had drafted him to act as wide receiver for Hunter's quarterback throwing practices. Brock's speed and agility made up for the fact that he had never played football. Despite his mother's reluctance, he was headed to team tryouts.

Brock also found a new friend. Another freshman named Richie began chatting with Brock during class and started saving him a seat at lunch. Brock was fascinated by the talented Chinese kid. He excelled in everything - chess, violin, architecture and design projects. It really wasn't a surprise that he was also a talented soccer player who ended up being an awesome kicker for the football team.

The catch was Richie was the target for every bully in the school. Brock caught flack for hanging out with him, too. Since Brock was accepted with most of the athletes because of his talent as a wide receiver, he hoped that Richie's involvement in soccer and football would earn him some respect as well. And, for a while that seemed to be the case, but the truth was, the bullies were just biding their time.

Author Carl Deuker has another hit on his hands. Deuker takes the sports novel a step farther than simply play-by-play action. He develops depth in his characters and intrigue in their lives beyond the playing field. GUTLESS is perfect for teen readers looking for a story to entertain and to relate to their own lives. This one won't be gathering dust on classroom and library shelves.

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