As proven time and time again, Mike Lupica has the talent to get the reader right into the action: whether it’s on the court, on the diamond, or on the fifty yard line, there’s a visceral, in-the-moment, hard-hitting feeling to all of Lupica’s sports-action sequences. The pulse-pounding, bone-crunching, split-second action on the football field in QB 1 is yet another example of how skillfully Lupica can make a reader (even a girl who’s never touched a football) feel what it’s like to be the quarterback, in the pocket, waiting for an opening, dodging a hefty tackler, hoping to make the down and move the team yards closer to that all-important touchdown. But more that just being able to get us onto the field, Lupica has the ability to be able to create well-rounded, complex characters we care about, root for, and want to get to know. Familiar themes of coming-of-age, fathers’ legacies and expectations of their sons, and the balance of power between brothers are played out in QB 1. Lupica explores these themes with detail, understanding, and insight, enabling the reader to feel what it’s like to live in some else’s shadow, to doubt your own worth and skills, and to rise eventually to be the person you were always meant to be.
High school freshman Jake Cullen lives in a small town in Texas where football is as important to people’s hearts as Sunday services. He also lives in the Texas-sized shadows of his father, a local football hero who made it to the NFL and still holds court around town, and of his older brother Wyatt, who won State and is now, as a freshman, the starting quarterback for the Texas Longhorns. Family life and football have been a mirror of each other for Jake his whole life: Wyatt and Football first, Jake and anything else a distant second. As Jake starts his freshman year at Granger High, he’s third string quarterback with no expectation to get any game time this season. But when the starting QB is injured during the first game and is out for the season, all eyes turn to Jake to see if he can live up to the entire town’s expectations of what a Cullen QB should be. The trouble is, Jake doesn’t really know if he’s up to the pressure or if he has the skills or the drive to try to fill Wyatt’s, and his dad’s, heralded starring role on the team.
- Posted by Cori