“The best writer of sports books in America today” (The Boston Globe) tells a thrilling story of friendship, football, and a fight for justice.
Renowned sports journalist and New York Times–bestselling author John Feinstein’s young adult novel Backfield Boys follows best friends and football stars Jason Roddin and Tom Jefferson, a perfect, though unconventional, pair: Jason, the Jewish kid, is lightning fast and a natural wide-receiver, while African-American Tom has an amazing arm and a quarterback’s feel for the game. After summer football camp at an elite sports-focused boarding school, the boys are thrilled to enroll on scholarship for their freshman year—despite their mothers’ fears of injury and especially CTE.
On day one, they’re stunned when the coaches make Tom a receiver and Jason a quarterback, a complete contradiction to their skill sets and training. Suspecting deep-seated racial bias, the boys speak out, risking both their scholarships and their chance to play. Soon local newspaper reports begin a secret investigation, and as tensions rise Jason and Tom must decide how much they’re willing to lose in their quest to expose the ugly remnants of a racist past that still linger in contemporary jock culture.
Praise for Backfield Boys:
“An intriguing look at racism in contemporary sports and the power private schools have in shaping sports and upholding racist traditions.” —Booklist
“A strong football hook will draw in most sports fans . . . The boys’ driving quest for the truth will keep readers engaged.” —School Library Journal
“Over the years, John Feinstein has built a career covering many aspects of athletics as a sportswriter, author, and media commentator. He has also written several sports novels for young adult audiences. In his most recent novel, Feinstein tackles racism in a way that is both thought-provoking and timely. . . . The end product is a fast-paced, reflective, well-written book that simultaneously entertains and challenges its readers.” —Children’s Literature