Thursday, December 22, 2022

Review of "The League," by Thatcher Heldring

 Review of

The League, by Thatcher Heldring, ISBN 9780385741811

Five out of five stars

Coming of age as a young teen

 Wyatt Parker is about to enter high school and he is small for his age. That is one of the primary reasons he is regularly bullied and lacks the self-confidence to stand up for himself. His father is an ardent golfer and wants Wyatt to feel the same way, even though he doesn’t have a passion for the game. Wyatt has a desire to play more energetic sports, but his parents are afraid that he will get injured.

 Wyatt’s older brother Aaron is a bit of a rebel, and he is a member of a sandlot football team that plays another team. While they have some rules, they bang each other up quite a bit. Against the wishes of their parents and lying to them about their whereabouts, first Aaron and then Wyatt are on one of the teams.

 At first, Wyatt is reluctant to put himself at risk, but suddenly he is belted by Aaron, who tells him that if he survived that, he could take it, so get into the game. Realizing that he enjoyed the contact, Wyatt finds himself enjoying the significant physical contact. Both boys lie to their parents about their activities, so there is an eventual day of reckoning.

 Wyatt is also friends with Evan, the girl next door. They bounce around the idea of “dating,” doing things together but being careful not to do date things such as holding hands. When Wyatt encounters the primary bully that torments him at school, he discovers that his willingness to take the punishment garners him respect and the bullying stops and there are movements towards actual friendship.

 Even though Wyatt deceives his parents and lies to one of his friends, this book succeeds, because ultimately it is the story of a boy chasing his dream and that pursuit has a very positive effect on his life.

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