Author: Thatcher Heldring
Age group: 10 - 14 years
Page count: 201 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication date: April 4th, 2017
Summary from Goodreads:
Caleb McCleary. QB. Following in his brother’s “baller status” footsteps.
Tessa Dooley. Any position that needs filling. Her motto: “Be afraid.”
The summer before Caleb and Tessa enter high school, friendship has blossomed into a relationship…and their playful sports days are coming to an end. Caleb is getting ready to try out for the football team, and Tessa is training for cross-country.
But all their structured plans derail in the final flag game when they lose. Tessa doesn’t want to end her career as a loser. She really enjoys playing, and if she’s being honest, she likes it even more than running. So what if she decided to play football instead? What would happen between her and Caleb? Or between Tessa and her two best friends, who are counting on her to try out for cross-country with them? And will her parents be upset that she’s decided to take her hobby to the next level?
This summer, Caleb and Tessa figure out just what it means to be a boyfriend, girlfriend, teammate, best friend, and someone worth cheering for.
I was pulled in from the introduction. It started the story off with a light, happy mood. We see Tessa's passion and dedication for running. We meet her love interest, Caleb, and her secret that she likes football but doesn't want her friends to know.
The Football Girl provided a unique perspective into doing something different. Tessa knew that most girls didn't play football and she could be shunned: but she didn't let stop her! She felt her life was mapped out for her, and she wanted to do something she enjoyed without having to worry about being accepted. She was treated and seen differently because she played football. Caleb felt really conflicted about Tessa playing football. He was happy for her, but he couldn't explain to himself why he didn't want her to play. The author approached this heavy topic with passion and characters who cared.
The two different POVs helped me understand how both of the characters would feel about a girl playing football. Tessa felt that if she could play, she could play! She is offended when Caleb hints that she shouldn't do it. Caleb is confused because he grew up with boys playing football, and it messed up the logical order of things to him. He was influenced by his friends, who agree and disagree about it. Readers will be intrigued about getting into both a girl and a boy's head in this situation.
I appreciated that the romantic relationship didn't take over the plot. Tessa and Caleb's romantic relationship strengthened the story, and it wasn't gushy. They supported each other, even if they had conflicting feelings about something. They both made mistakes in their relationship, but they cared enough about each other to make it up in a credible way.
Both Caleb and Tessa's parents had issues. Caleb's parents pressured his brother to join the family business. Tessa's mom was very self-absorbed. Tessa and Caleb didn't want to hurt their parents. They cared about them, but didn't feel like they were an important part of their parents' lives. The family issues didn't take over the plot, but supported it. I liked how they were handled realistically, and ended with hope that they could make their relationship work.
There is plenty of action and lots of football. It was very refreshing to read a sports book with a female protagonist. Both boys and girls will enjoy reading The Football Girl. Even though Tessa was a girl, on the field, she was just a player. I am glad how Tessa's success in football was portrayed realistically. It was great to see than even she could mess up, especially when the author wanted to prove that girls could play football.
The Football Girl will appeal to both boys and girls alike! It is a sweet yet subtle book. With only two hundred pages, and to the point, it is a great summer read!
Taken from back of book. Click here to go to his website.