Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers (#QP2023) Featured Review of Hometown Victory: A Coach’s Story of Football, Fate, and Coming Home by Keanon Lowe 

Hometown Victory: A Coach’s Story of Football, Fate, and Coming Home

by Keanon Lowe

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Release date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 9781250807632

After the death of a former teammate, Keanon Lowe left his position coaching the San Francisco 49ers to return to his hometown of Portland, Oregon. Brokenhearted, he answered a Craigslist help wanted ad for a head coach of the Parkrose High School football program. Little did he know that rebuilding the team’s confidence would ultimately be an opportunity for his own healing.

From the tragic hook to the play-by-play of building a team while trying to make ends meet, sports fans–particularly football fans–will be drawn into Lowe’s story.  Many teen readers will identify with the challenges Lowe faced growing up in a single-parent household, the loss of a loved one to drug addiction/overdose, or with the issues players on Lowe’s team faced.  Lowe pulls no punches in calling out the discrimination his players of color faced or of the subtle slights he endured because of his age and ethnicity, and his emphasis on overcoming barriers and positive approach is both authentic and inspiring. Lowe’s role in averting a school shooting brought him to national attention and draws his story to a breathtaking conclusion.

This is a title that will have great appeal to teens who devour sports stories and those who prefer nonfiction.  Hand this to students who like Ronda Rousey’s My Fight, Your Fight, Mike Kersjes’ A Smile as Big as the Moon, or Rex Ogle’s Punching Bag.

— Jodi Kruse

Other Nominated Titles

No One is Alone by Rachel Vincent (July 12, 2022)

The Getaway by Lamar Giles (September 20, 2022)

The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.

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Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers Blogging Team @ YALSA's The Hub.