On My Bookshelf: Second Impact by David Klass and Perri Klass

October 09, 2017

Second Impact by David and Perri Klass follows senior football star Jerry Downing as he navigates his "second chance." His mistakes and his chances to do things differently were always on his mind, which I think sets a great example for less than perfect teens. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: Kendall is 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. . . .

David Klass and Perri Klass's Second Impact is an action-packed story that will resonate with readers who have been following recent news stories about football injuries.

Why I liked it: What first drew me in to Second Impact is that Kendall is not unlike my hometown with a high school also focused in football. Friday nights in the fall were for football games, football players were a privileged class of students, and we usually had a winning team. They were the state champions my sophomore year of high school.
Second Impact by David and Perri Klass follows senior football star Jerry Downing as he navigates his "second chance." His mistakes and his chances to do things differently were always on his mind, which I think sets a great example for less than perfect teens. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

I loved Jerry Downing's character and his relationship with his best friend, Danny Rosewood. I was interested with how Jerry handled his "second chance." His mistakes and his chances to do things differently were always on his mind, which I think sets a great example for teens. I was less thrilled with Carla Jenson's character, the other narrator in the story, because at times she seemed self-centered and more focused on getting a "story" out of something than in doing what was right.

I was also interested in how the novel dealt with concussions and head trauma in sports. Jerry and Carla spend time with a doctor as he makes his rounds among patients who have all suffered some kind of head injury and trying to recover from a variety of issues. Without being too heavy handed, the scene definitely raises questions about what can be done to minimize the risk in youth sports.

Classroom application: This novel would be appropriate for upper middle school and high school students (there are mentions of underage drinking, but not drugs or sexual content). Because there is both a male and female narrator, the novel would appeal to students of both genders. For your sports-obsessed students who love authors like Chris Crutcher and Mike Lupica, this would be a great recommendation.

The novel would be a perfect lead in to research about head trauma in sports and the measures being taken to minimize the risks. The novel could be paired with Will Smith's recent film, Concussion.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Second Impact for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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