Gut Check

By: Eric Kester

Wyatt has wanted nothing more than to play football on Grayport's championshipwinning team. But not for the fame, glory, or girls. It's his last chance to build a relationship with his older brother Brett, the star quarterback, before he leaves for college. Now that their team has gained national attention, a big win could be just what the small town needs in order to rebound from a fishing season that has been devastated by Red Tide. But when Brett suffers a terrible concussion, Wyatt must decide if keeping his brother's secret is worth risking his scholarship future.

Told with irreverent humor reminiscent of Carl Hiaasen, and a stark honesty about brotherhood and masculinity for fans of Andrew Smith, Gut Check explores the struggle of grappling with uncomfortable truths.

ISBN: 9780374307622

JLG Release: Nov 2019


Sensitive Areas: Marijuana, Mild sexual themes, Strong language, Underage drinking, Underage smoking
Topics: Brothers , Football , High schools , City and town life Humorous stories

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Kirkus Reviews*, School Library Journal, The Horn Book Magazine

School Library Journal

In the fishing town of Grayport, only two things matter: having a blue-collar sense of toughness, and football. Which is why making the team is so important to Wyatt Parker. That, and it’s his only chance to bond with his brother Brett, the star quarterback. When Brett suffers a concussion during a game, he begs Wyatt not to tell and ruin his cha In the fishing town of Grayport, only two things matter: having a blue-collar sense of toughness, and football. Which is why making the team is so important to Wyatt Parker. That, and it’s his only chance to bond with his brother Brett, the star quarterback. When Brett suffers a concussion during a game, he begs Wyatt not to tell and ruin his chance to play in a televised game against Grayport’s rival team. It’s the only chance the team has to win and help the town recover from a resurgence of red tide. Wyatt struggles with the impossible conundrum of deciding what’s more important: saving his brother from a potentially irreversible injury or saving Grayport from even more hardship. Tough topics such as body image, poverty, and bravery are treated with equal parts humor and sincerity. Wyatt’s self-deprecating wit is used as a shield from a seemingly distant older brother, an alcoholic father, and a football team fueled by toxic masculinity. The author deftly paints a clear picture of Grayport as a worn-down coastal town, which creates a perfect backdrop for the story. The football stadium itself is set on a rocky bluff overlooking the ocean and Wyatt describes hearing the ocean waves crash against a stone embankment “like a communal heartbeat...defiant and surviving despite it all.” Even though the conflict resolution seems a bit pat, Kester’s debut novel will strike a chord with teens. Give to fans of Mike Lupica or Carl Hiassen.

Horn Book

Football is often called a game of inches, but for Wyatt Parker, a sophomore at Grayport High in coastal Massachusetts, it’s “a game of flinches.” With a body “more carved from marshmallow than from marble,” Wyatt sees no future for himself in the game, but playing just might be a way to forge a closer relationship with his older brother Football is often called a game of inches, but for Wyatt Parker, a sophomore at Grayport High in coastal Massachusetts, it’s “a game of flinches.” With a body “more carved from marshmallow than from marble,” Wyatt sees no future for himself in the game, but playing just might be a way to forge a closer relationship with his older brother Brett, the handsome, athletic star quarterback. Their father, whose own glory days were as Grayport’s quarterback, is an alcoholic who lives his life through Brett and ignores Wyatt. With red tide threatening the fishing industry—the bedrock of Grayport’s economy—football is the one thing that gives the dying town a little hope. In Kester’s debut novel, Wyatt and Brett are good-hearted teens doing their best against a somber set of circumstances. The protagonists, the town, and the culture of high-school football are richly devel¬oped with keen insight and pithy prose (“Murray Miller was the answer to what a Cabbage Patch Kid would look like if it were fifty years old, balding, and sporting a fuzzy mustache”). Football action sequences are vivid and testosterone-fueled locker room fights (and talk) brutal, but ultimately this novel is less about football and more about people getting by in a town on the verge of collapse. And that’s where the real gut check sometimes is.

Book Details

ISBN

9780374307622

First Release

November 2019

Genre

Fic

Dewey Classification

F

Trim Size

8" x 5"

Page Count

304

Accelerated Reader

Level 0; Points: 0;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 0; Points: 0;

Lexile

Level 950L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Marijuana, Mild sexual themes, Strong language, Underage drinking, Underage smoking

Topics

Brothers, Football, High schools, City and town life, Humorous stories

Standard MARC Record

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Cover Art

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