Greg Dunsmore, a.k.a.
Dun the Ton, is focused on one thing: making a documentary that will
guarantee his admission into the film school of his choice. Every day,
Greg films his intense weight-loss focused workouts as well as the
nonstop bullying that comes from his classmates. But when he captures
footage of violent, extreme hazing by his high school’s
championship-winning lacrosse team in the presence of his principal,
Greg’s field of view is in for a readjustment.
Greg knows there is a
story to be told, but it is not clear exactly what. And his attempts to
find out the truth only create more obstacles, not to mention physical
harm upon himself. Yet if Greg wants to make his exposé his ticket out
of town rather than a veritable death sentence, he will have to learn to
play the game and find a team to help him.
Combine the underbelly of Friday Night Lights
with the unflinching honesty of Walter Dean Myers, and you will find
yourself with Eric Devine’s novel of debatable truths, consequences, and
The publisher blurb above compares Press Play to Friday Night Lights and books by Walter Dean Myers, but I'd also like to draw comparisons to the raw honesty of Chris Crutcher and Andrew Smith books as well. For a student who loves all those books and authors, I wouldn't hesitate to hand a him (or her) a copy of Devine's latest book.
The edginess of the narrative isn't Press Play's only appeal though. There are a few different entry points for which it could entice students to read: there's the sports narrative -- specifically lacrosse, which isn't often found in sports narratives -- and there's the film-making aspect for students who might not be into sports. In addition, it's a story about bullying, hazing, and a teen who is struggling with his weight, so there is a lot going on in its 368 pages.
While this book might be a tad mature to recommend to my current 8th grade students, I am likely to recommend this book to high school teachers who work with juniors or seniors. Devine is proving himself an excellent edition to the landscape of YA novels that appeal specifically, though not exclusively, to male readers.
Press Play by Eric Devine
Expected Publication: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Audience: Young Adult
Disclosure: ARC provided by publisher
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