Letter Essay #6 – Jackson Caylor

Recently I finished the 272 page novel Rivals by Tim Green. Tim Green is a former American football player, a radio and television personality, and currently a best-selling author. Green is also famous for his novel Unstoppable. After enjoying Greens work through Unstoppable, I was compelled to read rivals. Tim Green has captured millions of people all ages with his inspiring and intense novels. Green currently lives in upstate New York with is wife and only son Troy. He also serves on the board of the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Rivals starts out with the main character, Josh, a star baseball player, competing in a game that will decide whether he goes to a very prestigious tournament. The game played out in the Titans favor. When Josh goes up to bat, the pitcher throws a beanball right at his face, and connects. Josh then later goes to the hospital where he gets the wound fixed. Josh wanted to play in the best game but found out that the injury was too bad so he had to sit out. After the Titans win the championship, they travel to the home of the baseball hall of fame to compete in the tournament. Josh and his friends Jaden and Benji want to visit the hall of fame but are interrupted by Mickey Mullen, a famous baseball player whose son is competing in the tournament so they are forced to leave. Josh wanted to get back at Mickey so he works extra hard to defeat him in the tournament. In his efforts, he discovers a secret about the Mullens that may destroy any chance he has at the tournament. Josh wants to expose this secret but if he does he will kill himself or his friends so Josh embarks on a mission to save his team and get revenge on Mickey.

I love how Green uses short chapters to build up to the climax, having short chapters also makes the book have immense amounts of suspense. Every time I read at Tim Green novel I end up staying up for hours at a time, every time I finish a chapter I feel a need to read another one. Rivals is a great example of this because it is a sports book but also a mystery, and that blend provides lots of opportunity for cliff hangers. He tries to end the chapters to leave the reader wondering, I have never seen an author use this kind of craft before, if I ever need to write realistic fiction in the future I will most definitely use this method.

Something I dislike about the author is how extreme he sometimes gets. In all of his novels the main character is a prodigy in the sport he plays, in Unstoppable and Rivals the main characters are the best player of that sport in their age group. I think the reason for this is because Tim Green was always the best at the sports he played. After finishing is pro career I think he doesn’t know what feeling like the worst is, so he cannot write his books that way.

Something that confuses me about the novel is why Jaden suddenly becomes mean to Benji halfway through the novel. They were friendly at first and then she just starts bullying him, calling him fat and other generally unkind names. When I finally reached the end when the championship ended, she acts like nothing happened between them. You can tell Benji is confused as well because the author adds a tone to his dialogue that proves he thought Jaden hated him. Why did the author make this transition so discreetly?  

One passage that i enjoyed reading was the part of the book when Josh reflects on his motivation to play, “Great players always want to go up against the best,” his dad would say, “even if they don’t win. A real rivalry is when teams or players go back and forth between who wins and loses so when they play each other, both are at their very best.” (PG: 5)

As a writer I found this interesting because it really shows how somebody can apply their own life to their books. Tim probably took this quote from his own father or himself. He probably applied himself to this quote and that drove him to become a top-tier player and actor. But I also found this quite interesting as a athlete myself. I can connect to this quote because I have experienced this quote in my own baseball career.


I rate this book a 6 out of ten because it is well written and is very intense and suspenseful. I would recommend this book to baseball players looking for inspiration.



              Jackson Caylor

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3 thoughts on “Letter Essay #6 – Jackson Caylor

  1. Nicely written letter-essay, Jackson. I liked your insights about the choices Tim Green made as a writer and how his own life affected his writing in this book. That’s what writers do . . .

  2. Hey Jackson,

    Thanks for sharing your letter essay with me. I enjoyed reading it. I really liked how you related lines from the book to your own life and baseball career. This was very interesting and showed me that you really took in the literature. Nice job!



  3. Hello Jackson,

    I had fun reading your letter essay, I have never played baseball on a team, but this really gave me an insight on what it’s like to have a rival like that. I also really liked the quote from Josh’s dad; I personally agree with that. One thing I think you should improve on is why you think the book was well written and is very intense and suspenseful. Just a suggestion but I overall loved it!…

    – Gabe P.

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