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Raiders Night

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Gr 9 Up-The Nearmont High School football team and the adults who support it see winning as the ultimate goal, even if it means resorting to illegal steroids. The players are the toast of the town, enjoying wild parties, drugs and alcohol, and girls who offer casual sex. Matt Rydek, one of the team's popular stars and a cocaptain, is torn between two girls and deals with a pushy father who lives vicariously through him. During preseason camp, the obnoxious and angry cocaptain, Ramp, assaults Chris, a new sophomore player and the object of his jealousy, and violates him with a baseball bat. The stunned upperclassmen, including Matt, don't tell anyone what they have witnessed, and although the coaches eventually learn the facts, they attempt to keep them quiet and pacify Chris to prevent a scandal. When Chris finally confronts Ramp with a gun, Matt must make some serious decisions about revealing the truth. Realistically gritty language peppers on-the-mark dialogue in this disturbing tale of bullying and competitive fury taken too far. Matt is a strong character believably confused by the mixed messages he gets from those around him, including his father. The alarmingly clear depiction of athletes trying to conceal hideous violence is reminiscent of that in Erika Tamar's Fair Game (1993) and Nancy Garden's Endgame (2006, both Harcourt). Lipsyte has added to his repertoire a remarkable, tough, important story exposing various negative elements that are far too common in today's world of sports.-Diane P. Tuccillo, City of Mesa Library, AZ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Lipsyte's (The Contender) latest sports drama is a riveting and chilling look inside contemporary high school football, starring captain and wide receiver Matt Rydek. Matt's intense focus on winning a scholarship is driven in equal measure by his love of the game and his desire to escape from his maniacal father. As the novel opens, the local gym owner injects a syringe of "all-pro cocktail" into Matt's buttocks. Steroids use, however, is not the most frightening aspect of the book. The real action begins during the last week of football camp, before the start of the season. Nearmont High's coaches are excited by the arrival of Chris Marin, a talented sophomore transfer student. Less thrilled is Matt's co-captain, Ramp, a brutish homophobe, whose starting position Chris could win. On the last night of camp, the traditional hazing turns into a sexual assault, which all the seniors witness. The adults, fearing scandal, hear rumors but adopt a "don't ask, don't tell" policy, mirroring their stance on steroid use. As co-captain, Matt knows he would risk everything his friends, his senior season, his future if he goes to authorities. Lipsyte exposes the underbelly of high school sports where racism, drug use, misogyny and bullying are shrugged off so long as the team wins. Matt has a soul-crushing choice to make and Lipsyte's careful rendering of the world in which Matt moves gives his story an awful and terrifying ring of truth. Ages 14-up. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"Riveting." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Lipsyte has added to his repetoire a remarkable, tough, important story."--School Library Journal "Riveting."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) Lipsyte has added to his repetoire a remarkable, tough, important story. --School Library Journal" Riveting. --Publishers Weekly (starred review)" "Riveting."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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