The pressure is on.
At Nearmont High School, football stars are treated like royalty, and Matt Rydek has just ascended to the throne. As co-captain of the Raiders, he's got it all, or so it seems: hot girls, all the right friends, plenty of juice to make him strong, and a winning team poised to go all the way. If he can keep his eye on the ball now, his future will be set, with a full ride to a Division One school, a shot at the pros, and—most important—his dad off his back. But when the team turns on one of its own, should Matt play by Raiders rules, or should he go long alone?
Robert Lipsyte, an award-winning journalist, in consultation with Dr. Michael J. Miletic, a leading sports psychiatrist, takes a hard-hitting look at the world of competitive high school sports in a novel straight from today's headlines.
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Robert Lipsyte has been an award-winning sportswriter for The New York Times and was the Emmy-winning host of the public affairs show The Eleventh Hour. He is the author of a number of acclaimed novels, including The Contender, The Brave, The Chief, Warrior Angel, and One Fat Summer. He is also the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring his lifetime contribution in writing for young adults. Robert Lipsyte lives in New York.From School Library Journal:
Grade 9 Up–The Nearmont High School football team and the adults who support it see winning as the ultimate goal, even if it means resorting to illegal steroids. The players are the toast of the town, enjoying wild parties, drugs and alcohol, and girls who offer casual sex. Matt Rydek, one of the team's popular stars and a cocaptain, is torn between two girls and deals with a pushy father who lives vicariously through him. During preseason camp, the obnoxious and angry cocaptain, Ramp, assaults Chris, a new sophomore player and the object of his jealousy, and violates him with a baseball bat. The stunned upperclassmen, including Matt, don't tell anyone what they have witnessed, and although the coaches eventually learn the facts, they attempt to keep them quiet and pacify Chris to prevent a scandal. When Chris finally confronts Ramp with a gun, Matt must make some serious decisions about revealing the truth. Realistically gritty language peppers on-the-mark dialogue in this disturbing tale of bullying and competitive fury taken too far. Matt is a strong character believably confused by the mixed messages he gets from those around him, including his father. The alarmingly clear depiction of athletes trying to conceal hideous violence is reminiscent of that in Erika Tamar's Fair Game (1993) and Nancy Garden's Endgame (2006, both Harcourt). Lipsyte has added to his repertoire a remarkable, tough, important story exposing various negative elements that are far too common in today's world of sports.– Diane P. Tuccillo, City of Mesa Library, AZ
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