Pop Packs Quite a Wallop

Pop by Gordan Korman took me by surprise.  Typically, I don't go for his books.  I know. I know. He's a popular author; he's written popular books.  For some reason, I wasn't his biggest fan. Until now.  Whether your a football fan, a fan of realistic fiction or you just love books with teenagers who have issues, this book is for you.

The book opens with Marcus, the new kid who hopes his dreams of joining his new school football team as the quaterback will be realized...just as soon as he works on his passing.  It's only after he meets a kooky, old man during one of his solo practices that he realizes he also needs to work on his ability to pass under pressure, as well as his ability to pass without fear of being hit.  This fear of the "pop" is lessened with each impromptu practice with the old man who seems to have the strength of a stallion.

It's only after he goes to football try outs, that he realizes his dreams of being a quarterback on a previously undefeated team won't be realized, especially when he is made back up quarterback, iced out by the star quarterback, Troy, and ostracized by his teammates. The iciness between Marcus and Troy only increases when Troy's ex-girlfriend, Alyssa, shows interest in the new kid.

The push and pull Marcus and Troy is a good one, and the back and forth banter between Marcus and Alyssa is entertaining, but the heart of the story is the relationship between Marcus and his football guru.  A man, he later learns, is a retired NFL player, Charlie Popovich, known for making hard hits. It's through a series of hits (on and off the field) that Marcus realizes the toil the constant pops have made on Charlie's life.

 Read an excerpt here!!


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