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The Rivalry: Mystery at the Army-Navy Game…
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The Rivalry: Mystery at the Army-Navy Game

by John Feinstein

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I enjoyed this book once I figured out the flash-backs. Those really should have been given a sub-title to the chapter: "3 days previously" (or something like that).

But once that was figured out, I did enjoy this mystery. It reminded me a lot of the Nancy Drew mysteries I read as a kid. The good guys were always good. The bad guys were bad ("And we would've gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling kids and that dog!" Scooby-Doo reference there :).

But just like Nancy, Bess and George, Susan Carol and Stevie were very mature for their age, incredibly responsible, and never let their emotions get the best of them (typical 14-year-old, right?). It was a feel-good mystery. ( )
  dlreece | May 18, 2014 |
I really like this book because I have been to WestPoint and it’s really cool to read about. I choses this book because it was seat at WestPoint.
  edspicer | Nov 19, 2012 |
Stevie and Susan Carol return in their 5th book. They must now save the Army-Navy game from a gambling officiating crew. ( )
  AlLe0619 | Jan 31, 2011 |
Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are teen sports reporters. In the first book in this series, Last Shot, they won a writing contest and were invited to report on the Final Four tournament. They also solved a mystery involving a blackmail attempt, and the two keep getting invited to cover big sporting events, even though trouble seems to follow them. In this, the fifth book in the series, Stevie and Susan Carol are part of the coverage of the annual Army-Navy college football game, which is being played in Washington, D.C., and will be attended by President Obama.

It is not immediately clear in The Rivalry what the main mystery in this book will be. Is it the threat against the president by hate groups? Bad calls by the officials? And who will win the big game? The story opens just hours before kickoff, and is told in a series of flashbacks as Stevie and Susan Carol learn about both teams and about the Secret Service. They attend practices at West Point and the Naval Academy, a game at Notre Dame, and even visit the White House, where they get their biggest interview yet. But can these teen reporters help the game to go off without a hitch, or will this be their biggest story yet?

This was my favorite of the recent books in this series, and not just because college football is my favorite sport. While it took a while to adjust to the use of flashbacks (at first I thought I had missed something in a previous book), I ultimately liked this. Stevie and Susan Carol cover several events leading up to the game, and the frame story of the game itself really tied the events together. It's also clear that John Feinstein knows a lot about the Army-Navy game (he wrote a non-fiction adult book about it called A Civil War: Army vs. Navy A year Inside College Football's Purest Rivalry), and this book would be a great introduction for students who want to read more sports journalism. There are several cameos by sports personalities and journalists, and even a few nods to the current state of the newspaper industry. For me the highlight of the book was Susan Carol's visit to the Notre Dame, which features the typical officiating that one sees at Notre Dame home games (Disclaimer: I am a Washington fan).

This series is at its best when Feinstein sticks with what he knows, writing about sports and journalism, and avoids too much angst between Stevie and Susan Carol, and he does that perfectly in this book. My students have really enjoyed the books in the series, and they'll be quite excited to see a copy of this one in the classroom. It is not, however, necessary to read the previous books to understand this one, and any young sports fan would enjoy The Rivalry.

(I read a review copy, not the published novel.) ( )
  leakelley | Sep 6, 2010 |
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"Here they come." At the sound of Susan Carol Anderson's voice, Stevie Thomas instantly did two things: he turned to look at the tunnel at the far end of FedEx Field, where the Naval Academy band would be emerging at any moment, and he also stood up very straight because that was always what he did when standing next to Susan Carol.
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Eighth-grade sportswriters Stevie and Susan Carol up to solve a mystery at the famous Army-Navy football game.

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