Monday, December 2, 2019

Review of "Million-Dollar Throw," by Mike Lupica

Review of

Million-Dollar Throw, by Mike Lupica ISBN 9780399246265

Five out of five stars

 Most books of juvenile sports fiction end with a climactic “big-game-at-the-end.” While this one has such a feature, it also has two major events at the end that provide an emotional lift. Nate Brodie is a middle school football quarterback that has the sniper rifle equivalent of a throwing arm. He also has the perfect football mind, with the merest glance at the field in front of him, he knows where every player is and where they will be when the ball arrives where he is throwing it.

 Unlike many sports stories featuring boys at this age, there is a strong female character that is not a relative. Abby is his best friend and has been since it made sense to talk about them being old enough to have friends. Despite his incredible football talents, Nate is not full of himself and Abby does a great deal to keep him that way.

 There are two main simultaneous plot threads to the story of Nate on the field, Nate’s father lost his job selling real estate and is now working at a job that he hates, and his mother has taken a part-time job to try to make ends meet. Even then, there is the imminent danger that they will lose their house. The second thread is that Abby is rapidly losing her vision and may have to move away to attend a school for the vision impaired.

 In a potential stroke of luck, Nate’s name is picked in a lottery and he will be given the chance to throw a football through a small target with the prize being one million dollars. Given all the pressures he is under, Nate’s performance on the football field declines to the point where he is replaced as quarterback. Taking it like the sound mind he is, Nate agrees with the coach and accepts a role on the team playing other positions.

 The major events of Nate’s team going through the playoffs toward the championship, the build-up to the big throw at the end and Abby’s visual decline are all weaved together into a great ending that will lift your heart and make a bad day much better. The big winning catch at the end was not on a football field.

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