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Harmon, Michael.
New York : Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2015
ISBN 0385754361

(2 booktalks)

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Booktalk #1

Brett “Stick” Patterson is a wide receiver on a high school team headed for a second state championship win. What no one realizes is that he’s fallen out of love with the game. It’s no longer a joy, but a responsibility he has to maintain to make everyone else happy: his dad, his coach, his teammates, the student body, the town, … no matter what it takes or who it hurts, Brett included, he must play to win. Preston Underwood is the school outcast and doesn’t care what others think of him. The complete opposite on the popularity hierarchy as Brett. Brett and Preston become friends when Brett decides he’s going to save Preston from the football bullies, but the irony is Preston thinks he’s saving Brett from his clichéd life. Events spiral out of control when Brett quits the football team, gets kicked out by his dad, and subsequently becomes the one bullied alongside Preston. Things get even worse for Brett once he switches schools and joins the rival football team in an effort to try to rediscover his passion for the sport that he loves, but only brings on escalating violence from his former teammates. Preston has his own problems dealing with not only the bullies at school, but his mom's abusive boyfriend, and oh yeah, I forgot to mention his hobby: dressing up in a homemade superhero costume and “patrolling” the city at night to help others because he couldn’t help the one person he loved the most, his dad. Stick is an intense and emotional thrill ride and a testament to what it means to be true friends against all odds. (Prepared by: Heather Loy, Wagener-Salley High School,
, South Carolina Young Adult Book Award, 2018)

Booktalk #2

“Stick” Patterson is one of the best wide receivers in Washington State and his father is one of THOSE dads—the ones who videotape their sons playing and then dissect the game for hours after. The problem is, Stick is getting tired. He’s tired of his coach who is only interested in trophies. He’s tired of his team members who find nothing wrong with humiliating people. He’s tired of his dad. He’s tired of football. Preston is a nerdy, skinny freshman with a love for comic books. The two meet when members of the football team decide to drop eggs on Preston for no reason other than he exists. Stick can’t help but admire the freshman who just doesn’t seem to care what anyone else thinks. Little does he know, but Preston dresses up like a superhero and goes out into the streets of Spokane to fight crime by night. When Stick decides to quit the football team his former teammates turn their violent attention to him. His decision to transfer to the rival high school—and worse—play for the rival team is enough to make him a wanted man, but maybe—just maybe—some of Preston’s bravery will rub off. Whether you’re a sports enthusiast or not, you’re sure to love this book by Michael Harmon that features unexpected heroes and unlikely friends. (Jodi Kruse, Teacher-Librarian R. A. Long High School, Longview, WA, Evergreen Teen Book Award 2017-18)

SUBJECTS:    Fathers and sons -- Fiction.
                        Football -- Fiction.
                        Friendship -- Fiction.
                        High schools -- Fiction.
                        Interpersonal relations -- Fiction.
                        Schools -- Fiction.
                        Spokane (Wash.) -- Fiction.

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