FICTION

Cracking the Bell

Katherine Tegen. Sept. 2019. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062453143.
COPY ISBN
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.

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