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Game Changers

Game Changers

Written by Mike Lupica

Narrated by Fred Berman


Game Changers

Written by Mike Lupica

Narrated by Fred Berman

ratings:
4.5/5 (12 ratings)
Length:
4 hours
Released:
May 8, 2012
ISBN:
9780545434362
Format:
Audiobook

Description

New York Times bestselling author Mike Lupica scores a touchdown with his new middle-grade sports series!

Ben McBain is every football team's dream player. He's a jack-of-all-trades guy that can handle almost any position. When the game is on the line, Ben's number is the one being called for the final play. But Ben wants to be the starting quarterback and the one thing standing in his way is the coach's son.

Shawn O'Brien looks the part. He has been groomed by his father, a former professional quarterback. But despite his size and arm strength, Shawn is struggling.

Ben is torn between being a good teammate and going after his own dream. As Ben finds out, Shawn isn't the easiest person to help. And when Ben gets an unexpected opportunity, the entire game will change for the both of them.

Best-selling author Mike Lupica kicks off a winning new series about sports and friendship that will captivate listeners.
Released:
May 8, 2012
ISBN:
9780545434362
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

Mike Lupica is the author of multiple bestselling books for young readers, including the Home Team series, QB 1, Heat, Travel Team, Million-Dollar Throw, and The Underdogs. He has carved out a niche as the sporting world’s finest storyteller. Mike lives in Connecticut with his wife and their four children. When not writing novels, he writes for Daily News (New York) and is an award-winning sports commentator. You can visit Mike Lupica at MikeLupicaBooks.com.

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Reviews

What people think about Game Changers

4.5
12 ratings / 6 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Entertaining.
  • (4/5)
    "Ben knew in his heart that he had all the skills needed to be a quarterback, not just the arm. More than that, he knew he had the ability to do the one thing that was supposed to count the most in sports:The ability to make a play."Ben absolutely loves playing football, and he's really, really good at it. But he's never been tapped to play quarterback because he's always been the smallest player on the team. He knows he'll never get a shot this year either, because the new coach is a retired NFL player who's got a son he's grooming to be a quarterback just like he was. Ben tries out for the position anyway, and as expected, the coach gives the quarterback job to his son, Shawn. Shawn isn't nearly as good as he should be, and he knows it. Ben does his best to befriend Shawn and help him, even though his buddies (the Core Four)tell him he's nuts. But in Ben's mind, it's all about the team and being a good teammate -- and working towards winning enough games to get into the championship, which won't happen if Shawn can't play well consistently. Tons of great football play-by-play action in the games and in the practices! Ben's parents are great people, and his best friend is a smart-alecky girl named Lily who's brilliant AND funny. Lupica definitely knows how to write great sports stories for this age group, and I'm glad he's started another series. I'll be looking for the next part of Ben's story! Great for 6th grade and up.
  • (4/5)
    I'd come across Heat, one of Mike Lupica's earlier novels purely by chance. I'm not much of a sports fan but the story of this young boy and his older brother trying to get by after the death of their father was about much more than just baseball. Somehow, Lupica wove in the problems facing a young illegal immigrant - the fear, the need to hide and the desire to fit in - into the story of this amazing athlete who has a chance to bring his little league team to victory as long as he isn't outed and deported first. It's hard to explain exactly, but after reading Heat, I started reading as much of Mike Lupica's young adult novels that I could find. Needless to say, I was excited to review his latest young adult novel, Game Changers.Like Heat, Game Changers introduces us to a hero so likable, that you find yourself in his corner early in the book. Ben McBain is a born quarterback: he loves football, he's understands the game, sees the entire field when he plays, he's quick, he's strong, and he brings his teammates together. Unfortunately, Ben is also much smaller than the usual quarterback, which means that few of the coaches or grownups see him as a natural for that position. Instead of whining about his luck, Ben plays smarter and he works harder than everyone else. Fortunately, he lives right next to a field which he and his three closest friends have dubbed McBain Field for all the hours they've spent there over the years.The book opens with a new football season starting. Ben McBain is better than ever and he's excited for tryouts. Their new coach O'Brien is a superstar in his own right - he played for the NFL and cares about the kids. Unfortunately for Ben, the coach's son Shawn O'Brien is trying out for quarterback too. Shawn is bigger, stronger, and is a shoe-in for the position.Invariably, Shawn becomes the starting quarterback. When Shawn plays well, he excels. But in tough times, Shawn gets nervous, he worries too much, and somehow he loses his game. Ben's friends see this as an opportunity for Ben to take over. But Shawn reaches out to Ben for his help and Ben soon finds himself spending his free time helping Shawn become a better quarterback. Shawn's sworn Ben to secrecy about their extra sessions. How much of a good guy does Ben have to be?When can Ben finally tell his good friends what's going on? And can Ben ever use what he's learned to win the quarterback position for himself?In Game Changers, Lupica puts Ben McBain through the wringer. Somehow, hard work, decency, and friends make things work out for the team, for Ben and even for Shawn. Game Changers combines football, friendship, loyalty, and a good story. I recommend it!ISBN-10: 0545381827 - Hardcover $16.99Publisher: Scholastic Press (May 8, 2012), 224 pages. Review copy courtesy of Amazon Vine and the publisher.
  • (4/5)
    This middle grade novel had great football action. Football fans will be playing right along with Ben McBain and the rest of the Rams. Ben is the one telling this story. He is crazy for sports and good at them as long as it is speed and savvy that is needed. But Ben has a problem; he is small. He barely makes the 100 pound limit for his level of Pop Warner football. He has everything he needs to be the quarterback except size. Unfortunately, size counts in the quarterback position and the Shawn O'Brien, the son of the team's coach, gets the job. Ben is a team player though and is determined to help Shawn be the best quarterback he can be. Only Shawn doesn't want to be quarterback, doesn't have fun playing football, and is only playing because he doesn't want to disappoint his dad who was a former pro quarterback. It is really hard for Ben to help someone who has the job he wanted and who doesn't really want it at all. It also didn't help that his two best friends on the team weren't willing to help Shawn be better because they felt Shawn wasn't making any effort to be a good team player. Ben is torn between helping Shawn and pleasing his friends. I liked the sports action. I liked Ben's emphasis on being a good teammate. I really liked that Ben was a reader as well as an athlete. I liked that one of his best friends was a girl and a smart one at that. I liked that two of his other best friends were as crazy about sports as he was and were also his teammates. And I liked that the parents in the story were all good people who were present for their kids. Although I did think that Shawn's dad was a little blind to what his son really wanted and was very busy trying to make Shawn into the player that he wished he had been. What bothered me a little was that Ben sounded more like a philosophical 40-year-old than and 11-year-old. I think that he could have shown a little more disappointment for not making the team as a quarterback and a little more resentment that Shawn did. Things get really tense between Shawn and Ben after Ben is put in at quarterback in the third game of the series and manages to engineer a big comeback win. It takes a while for things to work out including Shawn doing something really hard.This was a nice story about nice kids that I look forward to sharing with my middle graders this fall.
  • (5/5)
    As a middle school teacher I consider it my job not only to teach my subject, but also to instill in every child that crosses my path, the belief that he or she can reach for their dreams. Often times I see kids letting their dreams go for their parent's dream. This is the story of "Game Changers". Eleven year old Ben McBain loves football. He is good. his dream is to be the quarterback. Unfortunately all anyone ever sees is his size. Shawn O'Brien was the quarter back and the coaches son. What happens when your dreams and desires clash with your fathers? Shawn doesn't want to be quarterback. He also doesn't want to let his father down. He finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. The conflict in this book is one kids play out every day. Sometimes it takes courage to stand up for your dreams. This is another wonderful book by Mike Lupica. I love having these on my shelves because of the lessons they offer my students. I don't usually read a lot of sports, but Mike Lupica's books are definitely an exception.
  • (5/5)
    If you have a son in the 7-11 year old range, you should really get this book for him when it comes out. If you have a girl that age, in third to sixth grade, she might enjoy it just as much. It is so wholesome and so chock full of old fashioned, wonderful values, it is worth the read for the parents too! It has the feeling of “Father Knows Best” and “Leave it to Beaver”. What a wonderfully simple time it was when those shows were on the air. The example they set, even if a bit unrealistic, was of good principles, neighborliness and compassion; they didn’t dwell on the violence, crude language or promiscuity of so many of the shows and books presented today, which set such a poor example for the young to follow.Although I know little about the game of football, and many of the plays described were Greek to me, the mark of this author's excellent storytelling ability is the very fact that in spite of that, I found this book engaging, even when it went over my head. The excitement of the game pierced my confusion and I was rooting for the Rams and feeling the joy of their wins and the pain of their losses, the glue of their friendship and the desperation of their misunderstandings, right along with them.This is the story of ordinary kids, perhaps drawn a bit too perfectly or imperfectly in order to emphasize a particular trait or point, but the significance of sportsmanship and gamesmanship shines through on every page. It is a book about teamwork, kindness, cooperation and friendship. It sends the ultimate message, relax, have fun, enjoy the game. Although, it has a serious message, it is told with a subtle wit and is never heavy handed, although sometimes it seems a bit like a fairy tale, since ultimately, things work out quite well for all concerned.Game Changers is the charming, heart warming story of Ben Mc Bain, a little guy who plays the game exceptionally well, even though he is small, and his greatest desire is to be the quarterback for his football team, the Rams. He is part of a group of friends, all at the tender age of eleven, all in the same grade. They have a tight relationship and call themselves the “Core Four”. They live in what seems to be a middle class, well cared for neighborhood. There are three guys and a gal in this tight group of friends: Ben, Lily, Sam and Coop. Lily is the most sensible; she encourages all of them and puts all of their issues into their proper perspective with a wisdom and insight beyond her years. Ben is also more sophisticated than most kids his age, understanding the dynamics of friendship better than some adults and often assuming the role of parent in the way he behaves, sometimes even giving advice to an older adult in way that is mutually understood as respectful. Both Lily and Ben have a sweet relationship, perhaps the beginning of puppy love.Ben is a genuine sports lover; he loves them all, not just football. He enjoys the camaraderie with his dad, which they provide. His dad seems to have just the right way of giving advice to him, only expecting him to do his best and be happy with his achievements. Ben seems like the perfect child. He is never angry, always understanding and never jealous. He only wants to do what is good for his team. He really is a team player.Then, there is Shawn, who gets the quarterback position from his father, the coach, a former football quarterback star himself. Shawn and his father do not have quite as perfect a relationship. Shawn feels he has to be a quarterback to please his dad and the pressure his dad, inadvertently puts upon his son, wanting him to be like he was, is making him mean and a bit of a bully, not a cooperative member of the team, but rather on the outside edge of the group. The developing relationship between Ben and Shawn, both vying for the position of quarterback, is a major part of the story. At first, they seem like polar opposites.In the end, the friends learn that it is important to believe in yourself and your dream. Trying hard often accomplishes what at first seems impossible. The book shines a light on healthy, principled values, for a welcome change from books emphasizing vampires, violence and even sex.***I received this book from the publisher and it is an uncorrected proof.