I have just finished reading the 261 page book QB 1 by Mike Lupica. I chose to read this book because I have read a lot of Mike Lupica’s other books and liked them so I wanted to give this one a try. The book is about a 14 year old boy named Jake Cullen, who has lived his whole life in his dad and brother’s shadow on the Granger High Cowboys football team in Texas. His dad went all the way to the pros and his brother, Wyatt Cullen, led his team to the state title only a season ago and now on his way to the University of Texas. Growing up with Cullen as a last name is hard for Jake to be like his brother and father…
With Jake as the third string quarter back on the varsity team as a freshman, there was a lot riding on Jake to be the next great Cullen quarterback. Jake feels the pressure big time from his brother from the way he acts to the way he throws. Jake Cullen is part of a football legacy family and lives in the shadow of his famous dad and older brother. In school, Jake has no shadow from his brother or dad because Jake has all A’s, but he wants more then that, he wants the starting spot. Jake has never played a game yet and it looks like that until his Senior year. The second string quarterback has waited for Wyatt to leave so he could become the stating quarterback, but Jake wants the position.
The town of Granger people live and breathe football. The high school team is like local celebrities, and Jake gets free food at the diner, and has people come up and ask about his big brother Wyatt all the time. Jake is learning that what worked for his dad and his brother may not work for Jake in the game of football. But it’s hard to get out of the shadows of your professional football player dad and your hero of the season, Wyatt. While his teammates assume the starting job will be handed to Jake on a silver platter, the truth is that he has to fight for every snap and every ounce of respect. Jake may be a Cullen and he may play quarterback, but he is not his brother or his father.
Jake’s best friend, Nate, is the starting center and Jake seems to think that Nate has more confidence in Jake than Jake has in him. And trying to follow up what your dad and brother did for Granger and the happiness and celebrations they brought, Jake just couldn’t see himself being hated because he wasn’t as good as his brother and his dad. If you want to find out what happens next, read the book QB 1 to see if Jake does in fact become the starting Cullen quarterback.
I really liked how the author set up the scene by having the football game then the locker room and I thought that I was actually at the game or listening to it on the radio, that’s how good the details and setting were throughout the book. I would say the theme of this book is persevering because Jake lived in his brother and dad’s shadow and he wasn’t as good as them but he worked hard to try to be the best Cullen QB he could be.
In the book there is a part that Jake got his turn in practice to bring his team down for the touchdown, at the defenses 20 yard line 4th down, Jake sailed a ball over the best receivers head and in this scene he tried it differently and persevered
“Well, ” Coach said,
“let’s end it with that pass you missed to Calvin about an hour ago. Take tour three-step drop, and let ‘er g. Like my golf coach tells me, don’t think about anything except where you want it to land.”
Coach J gave me a mild head-slap to the side of his helmet and said,” And remember something else about sports: Everybody gets nervous, the trick is not letting ’em see you nervous.”
Ray Jessup, who’d been a decent wide receiver and Baylor after he’d left Granger High, ran an inside route, then broke toward the corner. This time Jake didn’t airmail his receiver. Didn’t try to be perfect. Or Wyatt. Just put the ball on the money, Coach J hauling it in three strides before he ran out of bounds, letting out a holler before doing the ugliest touchdown dance Jake had ever seen.” (pg. 27)
I quoted this passage because at the end of practice Jake launched one way over Calvin’s head but this time he slowed down, took his breath and didn’t try to be someone else, he just threw it and put it right on the money. I would rate this book a 7 out of 10 because it wan’t the best Mike Lupica book that I read but it was good.