Pop by Gordon Korman

  5 Stars - Great read for football fans and nonsports readers alike!

Though Marcus hated being the new kid in town, he was determined to stand out and prove  he was worthy of a spot on the town's coveted championship football team.

  Practice makes perfect, and thanks to Marcus's new friend Charlie, Marcus becomes an even more exceptional player during the summer before varsity tryouts.  Even though he was middle-aged, Charlie loved the sport as much as Marcus did, and to top it off, Charlie was a remarkable football player.  Charlie would tackle Marcus, smash him, make him feel the "pop" of a hard-hit delivered by his opponent.  It only toughened Marcus and took away his fear of being hit during the game.  Marcus not only learned to take the pop from Charlie, he also became proficient at taking down the opponent.  Charlie becomes a friend to Marcus - great player and crazy prankster, even for an older guy.

When Coach recognizes Marcus has talent he decides to give him a chance.  Troy, the star quarterback, is less than thrilled and makes no attempt to hide it. Troy knew competition when he saw it, and he instantly labeled Marcus a threat - not only for Troy's star quarterback position, but also a threat to his relationship with Alyssa, the gorgeous captain of the cheerleading squad. 

Imagine Marcus's surprise when he finds out that his new friend, Charlie, is actually the father of his rival, Troy.  Not only does their friendship make Troy more angry, he seems desperate to keep Marcus away from his family....to prevent Marcus from learning the truth about his father...

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this novel.  The end will leave you gasping.  Another touchdown by Gordon Korman!

*Recommended Read Aloud