|Hit count : a novel|
Author: Lynch, Chris
Arlo Brodie loves being at the heart of the action on the football field, and while his dad cheers him on, his mother quotes head injury statistics and refuses to watch, but Arlo's winning plays, the cheering crowds, and the adrenaline rush are enough to convince him that everything is OK, in spite of the pain, the pounding, the dizziness, and the confusion.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.50
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 173708
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 20.0 Quiz: 65917
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2015 Gr 9 Up—Arlo Brodie's devotion to football progresses throughout his high school years, even as evidence mounts that repeated head injuries are affecting him both cognitively and emotionally. In four sections that correspond to the four years of high school, Arlo describes the manner in which the sport gradually becomes an obsession, driving him to train incessantly and take ever greater risks in practice and games. He ignores the warnings of his mother, his girlfriend, and his own body until he is forced to confront his violent nature after grabbing his girlfriend during an argument in school. Comparisons are sure to be made with the author's groundbreaking Inexcusable (S. & S, 2005). Readers expecting the intense, concentrated focus of the earlier book, however, may be disappointed in this more diffuse effort, which features, for instance, a never-resolved subplot involving Arlo's jealousy of an older guy he thinks his girlfriend may be seeing. The novel also has some issues in terms of voice and narrative arc. In the first section, the 14-year-old Arlo comes across as entirely too erudite and sophisticated for a freshman, and the entire final section seems confusing as Arlo takes up boxing, of all things, to substitute for the football he has had to abandon because of his head trauma. His motivation for doing so is never sufficiently explained and the closing chapters are likely to leave readers scratching their heads. VERDICT An intriguing work that raises troubling questions about the culture of violence in American high school sports.—Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 04/01/2015 For Arlo Brodie, every love is second to football. His older brother spiraled into a sullen obscurity after the end of his own high-school career, but Arlo is determined to be better and go farther, and he does it the only way he knows how: by hitting harder. He plays violently and ferociously, ignoring the head-injury statistics his mother obsessively collects and brushing off warnings from his girlfriend, his coach, and his own body. Lynch’s intensely focused narrative takes the reader through all four years of Arlo’s high-school time on the field, from his meteoric rise to MVP through his swift and sudden decline. This will be perhaps somewhat less accessible to teens without the sports and competition gene but is nevertheless an in-depth look at athletic drive and the real, lasting danger of repeated head injuries so often overlooked in contact sports, both in fiction and reality. An important addition to the sports canon from a National Book Award finalist. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2015 Arlo Brodie’s ascent begins as soon as he enters high school with a linebacker position on the junior varsity rather than the freshman team-and just as his older brother, Lloyd, is debilitated with injuries and tossed off the JV team, where he was slated to languish as a senior. Arlo is determined not to be a burnout like Lloyd, whom he faults for playing with more aggression than strategy, but in no time at all he succumbs to the same pressure from coaches and teammates to revel in the violence, and to the adrenaline rush of bone-crushing hits that delivers as much pleasure as pain. Arlo recounts his progress in this four-part cautionary tale. In freshman year he lands a truly wonderful girlfriend, Sandy, keeps up his grades, and catches the head coach’s eye. Sophomore year finds Arlo on the varsity team and showing signs of academic underperformance and physical over-training. By junior year, he’s on his way to becoming a lost soul, carrying the nickname Starlo with false modesty while falling into fits of rage that he can’t control and suffering from crushing bouts of headaches and even loss of consciousness. There will be no football senior year-he can’t even make it through opening practice-but despite his public humiliation and private crisis of identity, his new sports-free state may save his life. Arlo’s voice is objective and clear-headed, implying that his addled brain has been set to rights, but it carries the bittersweet memory of real joy in the mayhem he caused and punishment he endured throughout his short-lived career. It’s that honesty that will ring true with fans and players, perhaps for that moment just before they toss the book aside with a “Won’t happen to anybody I know.” EB - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.