Cracking the Bell

Katherine Tegen. Sept. 2019. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062453143.
Gr 9 Up–Isaiah has a difficult choice to make: listen to his mother and stop playing football or keep playing and risk his life. His dislike of school landed him in a bad way with his family. After his sister Hannah dies in a car accident, football is the only thing holding Isaiah together. His inability to control his impulses caused him to make a huge mistake at his sister’s funeral, and his parents gave him the choice to keep playing football or go to a group home. After taking a hard hit in a game, he hears strange noises like witch whistles in his head. Now, if he keeps playing, he runs the risk of permanent brain damage. Mom and Dad are separated and must come together to help Isaiah take the right path. Grace, Isaiah’s love interest since eighth grade, also gives him support after a long absence. Herbach tackles the controversy surrounding the risks of one of America’s favorite pastimes. This book jumps back and forth from the present to the past, which could make it confusing to younger readers. Older readers will find this book interesting, as they are kept in suspense as to the reasons behind characters’ actions.
VERDICT This vivid story is for fans of John Coy’s Crackback and Tommy Greenwald’s Game Changer.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to 6000+ annual reviews of books, databases, and more

As low as $12/month