I read this book because the Upper Hudson Library System has a yearly “tough reads” book discussion during our June Youth Services Advisory Council meeting. We talk about why the book was a tough read, why it’s so important not to censor our collections, and how to get these books into the hands of the tweens and teens who would benefit from reading them. Whenever we have these discussions, it makes me particularly grateful that I ended up in a public library instead of a school library, since it would be so much harder to stand up for the students’ freedom to read if I was up against a school board that was eager to placate an upset parent. I think it would be very tough to “practice what I preach” if I was worried that my job was on the line. Sadly, I was unable to attend the book discussion this year, so I don’t know what everyone else thought about this book… but I figured I could at least share my thoughts on this blog.
This story is a sports rivalry like no other; the rivals aren’t even from different schools. The members of the football team and the gymnastics team keep pranking one another, and the stakes just seem to get higher and higher every time. It’s pretty clear to the guys on the gymnastics team that the guys on the football team are getting out of control, but they just can’t seem to help themselves. When something completely terrible happens to Ronnie, no one wants to talk about it. Even his own teammates try to get him to pretend it never happened. But life doesn’t work like that. And, sooner or later, someone is going to have to put a stop to this prank war before it claims another victim.