In this table-turning novel about the thrill of defeat and the agony of victory, the new rule at Jack Logan's sports-crazy New Jersey high school is that all kids must play on a team. So Jack and a ragtag group of anti-athletic friends decide to get even. They are going to start a rebel JV soccer team whose mission is to avoid victory at any cost, setting out to secretly undermine the jock culture of the school. But as the team's losing formula becomes increasingly successful at attracting fans and attention, Jack and his teammates are winning in ways they never expected-and don't know how to handle.
There is a lot to enjoy in this story of a soccer team of self-declared "losers" who band together after their new principal rules that all seniors must play a sport. First, there is captain Jack Logan, who narrates with heart and humor as he is forced to choose between pleasing his father, a former athletic legend at the school, or his undermotivated teammates, who insist on playing badly in hopes of bringing awareness to the obsessive sports culture at their school. When the media learns what the team is doing, it becomes an overnight sensation, igniting a frenzy among anti-bullying groups and non-athletes. The Losers' eccentricities make it easy to cheer for them, including a goalie who gets tangled in the net (when he's not sleeping), a kid who pukes during every match, and a constant circus of flying shoes and colliding players. Klass (Grandmaster) creates an uproarious soccer spectacle that's fun to imagine, but it's the message behind this underdog team, one of acceptance and forgiveness, that will stick with readers after the Losers play their final heroic game. Ages 12 up.