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Author: Lupica, Mike
In Los Angeles, twelve-year-old Charlie's skill at fantasy football gains the attention of both the local media and the owner of a professional football team.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 168144
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 6.60
Points: 17.0 Quiz: 64363
Kirkus Reviews (-) (08/01/14)
School Library Journal (07/01/14)
Booklist (+) (09/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (00/11/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2014 *Starred Review* Usually a football book is about whether or not the kid makes the team—and the problems that follow. So it’s refreshing that those issues are only a part of 12-year-old Charlie Gains’ story. See, Charlie is known as the Brain, because he is a football stats genius. He understands which players should be playing where and why. This makes him great at fantasy football; then reality comes center stage. His best friend, Anna, is the granddaughter of Joe Warren, the man who has brought NFL football back to Los Angeles. But the team, the Bulldogs, haven’t done much, and Joe’s son, the GM, is being blamed. Enter Charlie, who loves the team and soon comes to love Joe Warren as the father and grandfather he never had. Charlie shares his massive football knowledge with Joe, and soon players are being recruited at Charlie’s suggestion. Couple this with the fact Anna has turned Charlie into something of a podcast celebrity, and suddenly Charlie is catnip for the media. That’s great until things start to go wrong. There’s a lot of football here: pro and fantasy teams and Charlie’s own Pop Warner career. Veteran sportswriter Lupica handles it all very well. However, it’s the heart and depth he adds to the story depicting Charlie’s relationships with a sterling cast of characters that make this unique. This Moneyball story with kids is on the money. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 07/01/2014 Gr 5 Up—Charlie "The Brain" Gaines may be an average seventh grader in most respects, but he possesses an uncanny knowledge about football teams and a sixth sense about game strategy. A so-so linebacker for his own Pop Warner team, the Culver City Cardinals, Charlie would much rather be on the sidelines, calling plays along with the coach. Best friend Anna Bretton shares Charlie's passion for football, as it is in her blood—her grandfather and uncle own and manage the Los Angeles Bulldogs. She invites Charlie to meet Grandpa Joe and Uncle Matt at a game, and it isn't long before Gramps is captivated by Charlie's commentary. His advice to replace the quarterback with an older and relatively unknown player named Tom Pinkett helps to turn around their losing record. Signing Pinkett to the team turns out to be a winning idea, and when word gets out that the call was made by a 12-year-old, Charlie is hounded by the media and thrust into a spotlight he isn't sure how to handle. Nearly losing his friendship with Anna, Charlie learns a lesson about fame and valuing relationships. Tension soars when Joe Warren falls ill, and readers will be alternately cheering and reaching for a tissue during the final playoff-deciding game for the Bulldogs. This will be devoured by young football fans, who appreciate intricate game details and won't mind a touch of heartwarming sentiment.—Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.