Ty Lewis can't believe it when Coach V recruits him for the football team. This is Ty's big chance to prove how fast he is on the field, to get a fresh start in a new school, and to be like his older brother, Thane "Tiger" Lewis, who's about to graduate from collegeand is being courted by the NFL.
But Ty's guardian, Uncle Gus, won't let him play. Uncle Gus needs Ty to scrub floors and toilets for his cleaning business while he cooks up gambling schemes with "Lucy," the local mob boss.
When Lucy hears just how famous Ty's older brother is, he becomes suddenly friendly. Are the questions Lucy is asking Ty really about fantasy football…or is the Mafia using Ty to get valuable insider info from his superstar brother? Desperately worried, Ty must come up with a plan to save Thane's football career and, ultimately, his life.
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HarperCollins, April 2008, ISBN: 9978-0061122743
"Instantly gripping, this fast-paced middle-grade thriller set in the worlds of football and professional gambling, puts its 12-year-old protagonist, Ty Lewis, between a rock and a hard place and then proceeds to squeeze. Ty, whose older brother Thane plays college football, has recently lost his parents and now lives with his crass, angry Uncle Gus, who runs a cleaning service that uses Ty and his cousin as its labor force. Gus also has a gambling problem, and one of his accounts is a bar run by a Mafia operative named "Lucy." These worlds collide when Thane is drafted into the NFL, and Uncle Gus sees an opportunity to use Ty to get inside information for Lucy's gambling operation. This, coupled with Ty's own football challenges, keep the tension level high and the pages flipping furiously. Ty has one, maybe even two, too many obstacles to overcome, and Thane is such a paragon of goodness that it almost defies reality, but these are minor quibbles in a work that is sure to have a great many fans."
"Green, a former star linebacker for the Atlanta Falcons, of course nails the exciting football action and behind-the-scenes information. This is even better than his previous YA novel, Football Genius, with lots of fast-moving action and suspense. It's sure to be a hit with middle school and junior high sports fans, who will root for stoic but plucky Ty and rejoice in the happy ending."
Kliatt (starred review)
Praisefrom Teachers, Librarians and Parents
"Your visit to our middle school on May 28 will live on in the minds and hearts of our 600 students and staff forever. It was amazing that in, one hour, you were able to accomplish something that our faculty tries to do year round with mediocre results. Your message about reading is exercise of the mind and how important it has been in your life, was one that every student heard and related to. Coming from an NFL athlete and NOT the school librarian, was instrumental, and your delivery was perfect. Your two middle school level books were a hit prior to your visit and now are even more popular. Kids I have not seen all year coming in the library to read for pleasure, are asking for your next book. At the end of each chapter, no one wants to stopthey just keep reading and reading. Thank you so much for your message and for your visit." (see pictures below)
Marilyn G. Natke, Library Media Specialist