# of Pages: 329
Brock Ripley has always considered himself gutless because he tends to shy away from aggressive plays in all sports. He’s even considering quitting soccer for next season because he feels responsible for losing the championship game for his team. Then, he’s asked to play with Hunter Gates in the local park because he needs to practice throwing the football to someone. He’s nervous, but Hunter is the kind of guy you do not say no to and you desperately try not to get on his bad side. Brock is fast and has an eye for the ball, but is terrified of getting tackles in a real football setting. Hunter’s dad tries to convince Brock to try out for football because they think the two of them could be a good pair. Brock’s parents need some serious convincing to let him even try out, but as a freshmen who has never played before he ends up on the freshmen team and even on that he is not a superstar. Meanwhile, he befriends an outgoing, silly, nerdy, Asian kid named Richie who immediately becomes a target for bullying from Hunter and his friends. As Brock tries to be friends with Richie and play on the football team he finds himself ignoring the harsh treatment that Richie keeps getting from the older, bigger players. Eventually things escalate and Brock must decide whose side he’s going to be on.
Fans of sports fiction will once again enjoy this new addition by Carl Deuker. He includes both football and soccer action that sports fans will love, but also includes a lot on the topic of bullying that is so timely today. The foreshadowing will instantly put the reader on alert with a sense of foreboding, but the characters are engaging enough that you have to keep reading to find out what happens.