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“Football is a game of comebacks, and a game of character,” Coach Bavaro. — Deep Zone
Football Genius #5
by Tim Green
Ty just made the team that will play the seven-on-seven tournament for middle-school athletes, coached by former NFL star Mark Bavaro. If his brother Thane’s NFL team makes it to the Super Bowl, they would be living their football dream: both brothers playing for a championship game in one weekend. Unfortunately, Thane injures his knee in a game and is out for the season. Still, Thane supports Ty as they travel to Miami with Ty’s team. There, Ty meets Troy, another football player his age who has an uncanny knack for guessing which way Ty will run. Will Ty be able to outsmart Troy in the championship game?
In addition to football, Ty has other worries. Ty is visited by Agent Sutherland, who is assigned to protect him and Thane from the mob. Last season, Ty accidentally gave the mob inside information so they could bet on who would win the Super Bowl. Now, two mobsters are loose and may have Ty marked as a target.
Football fans will appreciate the large amount of football terminology, descriptive game scenes, and discussions of strategies. Ty and Thane have a great relationship, and readers will be impressed by all the things they get to do as a result of Thane being in the NFL, such as riding in limousines and going to exclusive parties. While the lavish lifestyle is realistic, these scenes do not help advance the plot and make it difficult to relate to the characters.
Even though the mobsters add mystery to the plot, they are completely inept and do little to make the main characters shine. Unfortunately, Ty is not very relatable because he is one-dimensional. However, he has a couple of positive personality traits, such as being caring and hardworking. The story can drag at times, and although satisfying, the climax doesn’t come until the very end of the book. Deep Zone is a book for football fans looking for an easy read.
Even though the publisher recommends Deep Zone for readers as young as eight years old, there are scary scenes, such as Ty and Troy being kidnapped by mobsters. Deep Zone is the last book in the five-book Football Genius series. The books follow Ty and Troy’s stories separately, and they meet in Deep Zone. Although Tim Green summarizes the story thus far so readers can understand Deep Zone, reading the previous four books would make the plot easier to understand.
- During a game, Thane catches a ball and gets tackled. Thane “got hit by all three Ravens players at once. Thane’s body pinwheeled in the air, and he landed somewhere in the pile of arms and legs right at the goal line.” He injures his knee.
- Ty swings a bat at an intruder in his house. “Ty reared back and swung the bat. It connected with something. The man yelped and fell at Ty’s feet . . . Ty swung the bat again. Klunk. The man collapsed in a pile.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Troy’s dad tells the two mob men to “have a drink” to celebrate winning a lot of money. Ty hears “the clink of glasses as they toasted their success.”
- A fan for the opposing team shouts, “You stink!” at Ty.
- Heck is used several times. For example, Thane turns quickly and re-injures his knee. He says, “Man, that hurt like heck.”
- Ty calls himself a “stupid chicken” because he is easily scared.
- Agent Sutherland tells Thane, “Thank God everything worked out.”
- Thane’s uncle Gus “nodded like a Sunday school teacher.”
- When Ty is stuck on a swamp tour and it starts to storm, he “closed his eyes, crossed his fingers, and said a prayer.”
- Ty thinks he is about to die, so he “prayed to God there was a heaven and that he really could be with his mom and dad. But he was afraid heaven wasn’t true . . . Afraid God was just words. He didn’t think that, but he couldn’t help being afraid.”
by Jill Johnson