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Pop by Gordon Korman
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I was pleasantly surprised to come upon this sports book by Gordon Korman. I had no idea that he has a talent for writing sports fiction that's right up there with Mike Lupica and Tim Green.

This story focuses on the potential health risks associated with repeated head injuries in football. Marcus is new in town. School doesn't start for another month, so he practices his passing skills at the local park. The first day he's tackled by a large middle-aged guy who loves football, especially the hard takedowns. Marcus wants the quarterback position, but with Charlie's "coaching" he also sets himself up for being a linebacker. Right away Marcus notices something odd about Charlie. He's a grown man and yet he steals, vandalizes, and runs away from responsibility. Each time, Marcus is the one left to take the blame.

Meanwhile, the football team isn't happy about the new kid coming in and shaking up their perfect rhythm. They already have a quarterback, Troy, that threw a perfect season last year. Adding fuel to the fire, Marcus learns that the guy he's been hanging out with at the park is Troy's dad and he's not just any dad. He's a former NFL player. When Marcus learns that Charlie's strange behavior is due to Alzheimer's, all he wants to do is help him hang on to his memory. Their relationship is one more irritation to Troy who just wants his old dad back. As the disease gets worse, so does Troy's football skills. He's afraid of the hit that might set him up for a future like his dad's.

I'm not giving it away, but the ending is quite unexpected and sad. Read at your own risk if you don't like sad endings. The book is shelved in teen fiction at the library due to references to making out, a party with alcohol and one use of profanity. The characters in the book are in high school, whereas in Lupica and Green books they are in middle school. All of the YA stuff is as mild as it gets. I recommend the book for grade 7 and up. ( )
  valorrmac | Sep 21, 2018 |
I was initially reluctant to read this book. I am not a fan of sports fiction and I particularly do not like footbal; but his story was able to go beyond being a simple sports story. It's a school story, a family story, a coming of age story, dealing with illness story, and an overcoming adversity story. It can be used as a springboard for a lot of great discussions. I'm glad I decided to read it after all! ( )
  asomers | Aug 26, 2013 |
This book is a very good book about football. The fact it was about football is the only real reason I read this book.
  edspicer | Jun 2, 2013 |
Great story that will have the kids reading and the message is one that football players need to hear.
This book has it all sports, girl friends, drama. ( )
  librarian1204 | Apr 26, 2013 |
Marcus Jordan made a pretty good name for himself as quarterback on the JV team at his old high school. But he and his mom have just moved halfway across the country, and the team at his new high school isn't that eager to embrace him: they had a winning streak last year, they already have a great quarterback in Troy Popovich, and they don't see any point in messing with a good thing. Doing football drills at the park, Marcus forms an unlikely friendship with a middle-aged man who can REALLY play some football. He later finds out that Charlie was an NFL player through the 1980s and 1990s.
Problem: turns out Charlie is Troy's dad, and Troy, who already dislikes Marcus,does NOT want Marcus hanging out with anyone in his family.
The more Marcus gets to know Charlie, the more he realizes that what he thought was quirkiness is really something much different: a secret that Troy and his mom and sister are trying to hide from the rest of the town.
This action-packed sports story has a nice dose of moral dilemma added in: what would you do if you were Marcus? ( )
  KimJD | Apr 8, 2013 |
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In memory of my grandmother, Claire Silverman. I remember what you couldn't.
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Marcus Jordan killed the motor of his Vespa and surveyed the flowering shrubs and tall maples surrounding him. Nice. Picturesque even.

More like The Twilight Zone.

For starters, the name - Three Alarm Park. after some chili cook-off that used to be held there in the sixties or something.
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Book description
When Marcus moves to a new town in the dead of summer, he doesn't know a soul. While practicing football for impending tryouts, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with an older man. Charlie is a charismatic prankster—and the best football player Marcus has ever seen. He can't believe his good luck when he finds out that Charlie is actually Charlie Popovich, or "the King of Pop," as he had been nicknamed during his career as an NFL linebacker. But that's not all. There is a secret about Charlie that his family is desperate to hide.

When Marcus begins school, he meets the starting quarterback on the team: Troy Popovich. Right from the beginning, Marcus and Troy disagree—about football, about Troy's ex-girlfriend, Alyssa, but most of all about what's good for Charlie. Marcus is betting that he knows what's best for the King of Pop. And he is willing to risk everything to help his friend.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061742287, Hardcover)

When Marcus moves to a new town in the dead of summer, he doesn't know a soul. While practicing football for impending tryouts, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with an older man. Charlie is a charismatic prankster—and the best football player Marcus has ever seen. He can't believe his good luck when he finds out that Charlie is actually Charlie Popovich, or "the King of Pop," as he had been nicknamed during his career as an NFL linebacker. But that's not all. There is a secret about Charlie that his family is desperate to hide.

When Marcus begins school, he meets the starting quarterback on the team: Troy Popovich. Right from the beginning, Marcus and Troy disagree—about football, about Troy's ex-girlfriend, Alyssa, but most of all about what's good for Charlie. Marcus is betting that he knows what's best for the King of Pop. And he is willing to risk everything to help his friend.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Lonely after a midsummer move to a new town, sixteen-year-old high-school quarterback Marcus Jordan becomes friends with a retired professional linebacker who is great at training him, but whose childish behavior keeps Marcus in hot water.

» see all 2 descriptions

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