Michael Harmon Stick

ISBN 13: 9780385754361

Stick

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9780385754361: Stick
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“Stick” is the best wide receiver in the history of his high school—the football seems magnetically drawn to his hands, hence his nickname.
 
Preston is an outcast, and his pipsqueak stature and nerdy social status couldn’t be further from a star athlete’s.
 
Stick puts on his football costume every week to make others—his teammates, his dad, everyone but himself—happy, but he’s fallen out of love with the sport and feels that he’s lost control of his future.
 
Preston puts on his homemade superhero costume every night to help others, too: to avenge his father’s murder, he’s determined to right the wrongs he sees in his neighborhood and regain control of the flawed world he sees around him.
 
A twist of fate brings this unlikely pair together in a friendship that is as odd as it is true. Each can see the other better than he can see himself, and in these unexpected reflections lies a chance for mutual redemption.

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About the Author:

Michael Harmon was born in Los Angeles and now lives in the Pacific Northwest. He dropped out of high school as a senior and draws on many of his own experiences in his award-winning fiction for young adults. Michael is also the author of Under the Bridge, Chamber of Five, Brutal, The Last Exit to Normal, and Skate. Learn more about Michael and his books at BooksbyHarmon.com.

From School Library Journal:

Gr 10 Up—Brett "Stick" Patterson has a love/hate relationship with football. He loves the game itself but hates the win-at-all-costs attitude that prevails on his high school team. He hates even more the way others—especially his power-mad coach and abusive, alcoholic father—exploit his talent. Nerdy Preston Underwood comes to Brett's attention as the boy is being pelted by eggs thrown by Brett's bullying teammates. Brett fails to intervene but is intrigued by Preston's serene attitude in the face of such abuse. The two form a relationship as Preston tutors Brett in math and also pushes him to confront the issues in his life that he has been avoiding. Preston has issues of his own: his father was murdered before his eyes during a robbery. Brett quits the football team and with the help of a sympathetic guidance counselor, transfers to another school where he is able to join a team coached by a fair-minded man. Meanwhile, Preston takes to the streets at night dressed in a superhero costume trying to thwart crime (to atone for his inaction in his father's death). Brett's former teammates attack both of them in their rage at his defection. There is way too much going on in this novel for any of the important issues raised to be treated with any depth or complexity, and the scatological language would limit the potential audience to older teen readers, even as the vocabulary, sentence structure, and general level of sophistication suggest a lower reading level. VERDICT An additional purchase only.—Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT

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