Ben McBain is a quarterback - at least, in his heart. In reality, he's a small guy for his age, and he hasn't been able to get a coach to give him a chance. It's not likely to happen this year either as the other guy trying out is the coach's son. Shawn is streaky behind center, but his dad makes him QB anyway. In his determination to be positive and be a team player, Ben reaches out to Shawn and tries to help him. But Shawn doesn't seem to know how to lead a team - or how to respond to overtures of friendship. And when Shawn's dad benches Shawn, the team's record improves under Ben's leadership, but the team relationships get a lot more complicated.
This was a great story!! This is not a book I would have picked up on my own; it's one of the books in our fall Scholastic book fair. But I loved it! Great family relationships - not perfect, but loving and wanting the best. Great group of friends, too - they don't always agree with Ben but they always have his back. Great football - win or lose. Great themes of family, identity, teamwork and attitude.
5 out of 5 stars
AR reading level of 5.2
There is a second book in the series (Playmakers, with an AR reading level of 5.4) and a third book, Heavy Hitters, coming out in February 2014.