Publisher's Note:  

Bestselling writer John Feinstein is back with another exciting sports-mystery, this one set behind the scenes at the storied Army-Navy football game.

Teen sportswriters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are thrilled to be covering "America's Game."  The Black Knights of Army and the Midshipmen of Navy have met on the football field since 1890, and it's a rivalry like no other, filled with tradition. But this year, the match-up is also filled with intrigue.

For weeks, Stevie and Susan Carol have been spending time at Annapolis and West Point, getting to know the players, and coaches. And the secret service agents. Since the president will be attending the game, security will, of course, be tighter than tight. As the game draws nearer Stevie and Susan Carol can tell that the agents are getting tenser.  

But as usual when Stevie and Susan Carol cover a big event--nothing is quite as it seems, and the coaches aren't the only ones calling plays...

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Knopf Books for Young Readers

The Rivalry: Mystery at the Army-Navy Game

by John Feinstein

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Overall Review:  

The Rivalry:  Mystery at the Army-Navy Game by John Feinstein is definitely a sports book first with the mystery playing second fiddle.  The story follows two, fourteen year-old, aspiring reporters, Stevie and Susan Carol, as they are immersed in the culture of two military schools, the schools’ rivalry, the historic game, and what it feels like to be reporting from the sidelines.  Whispers of a mystery don’t really appear until about page 100.  Feinstein’s writing is solid and flows best when he is absorbed in the sports and newspaper reporting aspects of the story.  One complaint was the sheer number of characters introduced made it difficult to keep track of names and connections.  Many of those characters were non-critical to the plot and unfortunately, a lot of them were named Bob.  The book had an interesting feel of retro-reporting/sleuthing combined with an ultra-contemporary setting that referenced current sports figures, the recession, and President Obama.  Mystery fans could probably pass on this book, but since it is filled with sports facts and play-by-play football game scenes, it is a good selection for the young, sports fanatic.

Content Analysis:  

Violence consists of a character being accidentally hit by a football player when a play goes out of bounds resulting in a minor injury to the character.

Mild religious profanities were noted seven times.  While not technically profanity, one coarse term was used.

Sexual content is extremely mild.  It consists of a girl greeting her boyfriend with a hug and a kiss and later the same characters kiss once.

Mature Subject Matter:  

Mature themes referenced are gays in athletics and racism against African Americans.  Although both are mentioned, they are addressed quite mildly.  The first involves a three to four sentence dialogue exchange between characters indicating that there is probably more bias in the locker room against gays than against African-Americans.  The second theme, racism, is briefly mentioned in context of some people not being happy about the election of an African-American President and how there is sometimes racism and/or racist remarks during football games.

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Reviewed By Cindy
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