Booktalk for QB 1 by Mike Lupica

QB 1In Granger, Texas, the last name Cullen is synonymous with being a star quarterback. Jake Cullen’s dad went all the way to the pros, and his older brother Wyatt is making a name for himself on his college team.

With a family like that, of course Jake is going to play football, but he feels like he’s always being compared to his brother and his dad. And he doesn’t play as well as either of them.

When Jake starts high school, he makes the varsity team as a freshman—but as the third-string quarterback. He’s the backup to the backup. There’s not much chance he’ll see any playing time during the year.

Then in the first game of the season, the starting quarterback gets seriously injured. And the backup isn’t playing too well. Suddenly Jake has a shot at being a star.


Genre: realistic fiction, sports

Grades 5-9.


Anna’s take on it:

I booktalked this title in sixth and seventh grade classes last fall, and it was a big hit–especially among the boys. When I visit classrooms to do booktalks, I bring 20-25 books and set up a display table. One of the perennial questions I get is “Have you read all those books?” (I love that question. My emphatic, “Yes–and more!” draws gasps of astonishment.) One time after I answered that question, a boy in the back of the room called out, “Even the football book?” He didn’t quite believe that this book lady from the library would read about football. He must have been a reasonable judge of character, for I was inordinately proud that I not only read the book, but that I liked it so much.