On My Bookshelf: Game Changer by Tommy Greenwald

July 20, 2020

Game Changer by Tommy Greenwald is told in a variety of formats as it reveals what really happened to Teddy out on the football practice field. The suspense of not knowing who is to be trusted and the unexpected turns in the plot make this a quick and engaging read. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: Thirteen-year-old Teddy Youngblood is in a coma fighting for his life after an unspecified football injury at training camp. His family and friends flock to his bedside to support his recovery—and to discuss the events leading up to the tragic accident. Was this an inevitable result of playing a violent sport, or was something more sinister happening on the field that day? Told in an innovative, multimedia format combining dialogue, texts, newspaper articles, transcripts, an online forum, and Teddy’s inner thoughts, Game Changer explores the joyous thrills and terrifying risks of America’s most popular sport.

Why I liked it: Sports books are not my usual read because sports are not something I'm terribly interested in, but I've been trying to read more of a variety of books in my classroom library. Game Changer by Tommy Greenwald was a quick read. I liked the variety of formats: verse, text messages, dialogue, articles posted online with accompanying comments, and how each new "piece" helped you to put together the puzzle of what happened to Teddy out on the football field. Throughout out the book I found myself questioning which characters had good intentions and which ones were covering up something bigger. Be prepared for some unexpected turns in the plot in this one.

Game Changer by Tommy Greenwald is told in a variety of formats as it reveals what really happened to Teddy out on the football practice field. The suspense of not knowing who is to be trusted and the unexpected turns in the plot make this a quick and engaging read. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
Classroom application: I would recommend this one for middle school and up. Sports fans, particularly football fans will like this one, but also students who enjoy novels in verse and the mystery genre.

The novel raises the issue of adults' responsibility to protect children, which includes Teddy's parents and coach. After reading, students could debate who was responsible for Teddy's injury. It would be also be interesting to discuss the role of social media and technology in uncovering what happened to Teddy.

Hazing in sports and concussions are just two possible after-reading research topics. Students could make connections with Will Smith's 2015 film Concussion well as the real life experiences of athletes like Art Monk, Tony Dorsett, Jim McMahon, and Jamal Anderson.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Game Changer 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.

Game Changer by Tommy Greenwald is told in a variety of formats as it reveals what really happened to Teddy out on the football practice field. The suspense of not knowing who is to be trusted and the unexpected turns in the plot make this a quick and engaging read. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

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