A Story Featuring An Edginess Not Seen in Other Green Novels
Football players are a special breed of warrior. From the first hit to the last play of their careers, they learn to develop and maintain an invisible force field of toughness that dares any competitor to break through. When the opponent is a life-threatening disease, the warrior is faced with a new challenge and a new set of downs or choices. In Tim Green’s newest offering UNSTOPPABLE, a young football warrior meets this type of dilemma head on. With the help and guidance of a loving foster family and the tough love and training of an Army major, thirteen year-old Harrison learns what it means to be not only a warrior but a survivor.
The eighth grade is supposed to be a kid’s grand time, filled with school, family, activities, video games, and maybe the discovery of young love. As a foster child floating through the court system, Harrison encounters some difficult, gut-bending, and scary situations that would bring a grown man to his knees, begging for the end. But this kid continues to get back up and go forward. In spite of enduring some unimaginable terrors and sadness, he perseveres. No family, no home, no security, no future, but Harrison keeps his chin high regardless of the turmoil that makes up his life. Then something good happens to Harrison.
Harrison wants a family to play football more than anything else in the world. Just when his world seems most unbearable, family and football appear together and magically change everything for him. Loving people adopt him, give him good meals and a great place to live, but the best part is that his adoptive father is also a middle school football coach. Good love comes to those whose dreams are unstoppable. And Harrison’s dreams never stop even after they’re achieved. He dreams further about a future in the NFL and a college education. Then the unthinkable bursts the wonderful bubble. Harrison is faced with a set of downs and choices that will definitely change his world forever.
Green writes with a new degree of tension in UNSTOPPABLE that serves as scaffolding for a difficult story, but one worth reading. Compared to past efforts, UNSTOPPABLE rides a wave of edginess not present in other worthwhile books by Green. The juicy gridiron details he writes so well are present in this story and his talent for the stunning simile and meticulous metaphor provides readers with the vividness they expect in Green’s work. But the rawness of the subject matter and the artfulness with which he writes about a very poignant issue are breathtaking. Just as breathtaking as when a young talented football player is unstoppable as he runs into the end zone for the victory of a lifetime.
Reviewed by Joy Held for KidsReads (New York, NY)