Kendall is a football town, and Jerry Downing is the high school’s star quarterback, working to redeem himself after he nearly killed a girl in a drunk driving accident last year. Carla Jenson, lead reporter for the school newspaper’s sports section, has recruited Jerry to co-author a blog chronicling the season from each of their perspectives. When Jerry’s best friend on the team takes a hit too hard and gets hurt, Carla wonders publicly if injury in the game comes at too high a cost in a player’s life—but not everyone in Kendall wants to hear it..
Cover Gushing Worthiness: I don’t really think much about the cover, but I do think it works well for the story.
Review: I admit it wasn’t the cover that drew me to this book, but rather the synopsis. This is the first time I’ve heard and read anything by sibling duo David Klass and Perri Klass and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed! I do hope they continue to write more books!
I’m a sucker for sports. I can’t say that I follow the NFL or any other American Football tournament, but I do follow the English Premier League and I’m aware of some of the issues soccer(English Football) faces such as: player behaviour;both on and off the pitch, tackling, refereeing, goal line technology, injuries etc. So when I read the synopsis for this book I knew I had to read it.
The two previous works of collaboration I’ve read are: Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn. I enjoyed both books immensely and Second Impact is up there with both of them. In terms of the writing format of this book, I thought it was effective. The last time I read a book which was written in email/msn format was Cecelia Ahern’s Where Rainbows End and I have to say I enjoyed Second Impact a tad bit more!
Written in a blog/email format Second Impact follows bloggers Jerry Downing; Quarterback for Kendall High’s football team and Carla Jenson; a former Soccer player and Sports Writer for Kendall’s High Newspaper Kendall Kourier. The two students blog about Kendall High’s football season from their own perspectives and its a season filled with lots of emotion and drama! Plot wise I enjoyed the story a lot, so much so that this book sits at the top of my favourite YA reads for the year thus far. I thought both Jerry and Carla had two very distinct voices and approached the sports from different angles. One focusing on the perspective of a player while the other focused on the game as a spectator and as a former athlete. The nice thing about this book was that the voices didn’t overrun each other. There was equal focus given to both of them. I enjoyed the amount of detail the Klass siblings used to describe and present the effects of Sports injuries. It was eye-opening to read about concussions, brain injuries and ACL reconstructions. I have to give a shout out to the authors for bringing attention to Physiotherapists. My grandma is a Physio and I think they are so underrated in the medical/sports field. So I was happy to see them get some attention.
Another aspect I really enjoyed about the book was its presentation if the American Football culture. It looked at its darker elements such as players playing while injured and winning at all costs, no matter what the consequences are for the athletes. However it also looks at Football’s positive elements such as its ability to bring the community together and give a sense of hope to people. While I adored this book there were a few things I found to be unsatisfying. First I found the ending to be unsatisfactory. I say this because I wanted one last response from Jerry. Having Carla’s email as an ending felt unfinished because I was desperate to hear if Jerry had something to say to her. I also wanted Jerry to explore the accident and talked to the girl he badly injured. I felt like his apology on a blog was not enough. I wanted to see her responses to him and I guess I just wanted to know more about her.
Character wise I liked Jerry and Carla a lot. Jerry was such a sincere and honest character. He appreciated his second chance and worked hard at redeeming himself from the accident. I also liked his passion for both football and writing. Another great thing about Jerry was that he wasn’t afraid to get into arguments with Carla. He would call her out when he thought she was crossing the line and she would do it vice versa.
Oh Carla Jenson, where do I even start with you? From all the YA literature I’ve read Carla is one of my favourite female characters. She is a passionate, no-nonsense, strong yet vulnerable at the same time type of character. I liked how she showed Jerry that she might live in a Mansion on the hill, but she still had a her own problems. Oh and massive props to Carla for going under the knife while being conscious! And for writing about her experience afterwards. Her sarcasm also made me laugh a bit. I also truly applauded her for having strong principles and standing up for them when necessary. She wasn’t afraid to call out football culture in Kendall when the game mattered to people more than the player’s well-being. I seriously need to find more characters like her!
There isn’t a lot of focus on Secondary characters in this book, but the ones that received attention were likable. I liked both Jerry’s and Carla’s parents. They both supported their kids when they needed it the most. I think my favourite secondary character was Dr.Klapper. I really appreciated his passion, compassion and honesty. He approached his job with so much enthusiasm despite the difficulties patients faced.
Another thing that I liked a lot about this book was there was no romance! As I was reading it I was thinking “please tell me that there isn’t any romance in this book. please don’t fall for that trope, please just don’t Second Impact“ and I was so glad it didn’t. I appreciated that the authors didn’t focus on romance in this book at least in the Uncorrected Galley version I read. I hope the published copy will exclude romance from the book. This book works perfectly without it.
This book isn’t just about football and the culture that surrounds it. It’s also about journalism and ethics. Why are those who speak out always told to shut up? What is a story? What kind of information makes a story? What information should be included in a story? All those questions are important in the field of journalism.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Second Impact. I enjoyed it for the story and for the characters. You don’t need to be a football fan to appreciate this book. It’s definitely one of the best YA books I’ve read this year.
My Rating: 4.5/5
Would I recommend it? Yes
Second Impact is published by Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and will be released on August 6, 2013. This Uncorrected Galley was provided by Netgalley. Thank You Netgalley for providing me with this copy in exchange for an honest review.