33413886Title: GAME CHANGE
Author: Joseph Monninger
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 208
ARC: Yes, provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Release date: 9/12/17
Rating: 2/5

Seventeen-year-old Zeb Holloway is happy to work in his uncle’s auto repair shop and cruise through school without much effort. He’s a quarterback on his high school’s undefeated football team, but he never plays. Why would he when T.T. Munroe—a walking, talking highlight real— is around? That is, until T.T’s injured a week before the state championships.

Now Zeb is starting. As he assumes the role of QB and team leader, the entire town is watching him. And when a college recruiter says Zeb could have a future beyond his small New Hampshire town, he realizes there’s a bigger life out there for him . . . if he can play his heart out.

Full disclosure: I skimmed the last half of this book.

My problems with this book started pretty early. T.T. is the school’s main quarterback and he receives a career ending injury right before the state championship. When Zeb goes to visit him in the hospital, T.T.’s mom tells Zeb that none of the other teammates have come to see him. I had a bad feeling in my gut about this one. I grew up in a rural area where football rules all. It doesn’t matter how unlikable the star quarterback is, everyone is going to love him because of what he accomplishes and when he gets injured, everyone is going to be there. But no, not in this book. Because T.T. is black. Because T.T. is apparently aloof and doesn’t care about anyone but himself. It’s deeply uncomfortable to have a white author writing a black character and having him have his entire life ripped out from under him in order to push a white character into the spotlight.

Then there was T.T’s girlfriend, Stella. The way the other male characters talk about her is disgusting. She is a caricature of the “slutty social climbing cheerleader” and while the author had ample opportunity to prove that she isn’t, he went the other way and had her try to force herself on the new star quarterback, Zeb.

I hated that I hate this book because of Zeb. He might be the only redeeming things about this book.

I’ve heard there was some troubling lines about Natives in the book, but I probably skimmed over those. If anyone else has seen those lines, please let me know.

This book tried way to hard to be both Friday Night Lights and Varsity Blues… and it failed epicly.


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