Kendall is football town, and Jerry Downing is the high school's star quarterback, working to redeem himself after he nearly killed a girl in a drunk driving accident last year. Carla Jenson, lead reporter for the school newspaper's sports section, has recruited Jerry to co-author a blog chronicling the season from each of their perspectives. When Jerry's best friend on the team takes a hit too hard and gets hurt, Carla wonders publicly if injury in the game comes at too high a cost in a player's life—but not everyone in Kendall wants to hear it...
David Klass and Perri Klass's Second Impact is an action-packed story will resonate with readers who have been following recent news stories are football injuries.
The format occasionally gets in the way of the story in the Klass siblings' message novel about the risks of head injuries to football players. School sports reporter Carla Jenson has come up with a brilliant idea: recruit star quarterback (and talented writer) Jerry Downing to blog about his senior season. Jerry less than a year removed from a drunk driving accident that nearly killed a classmate takes to the assignment, documenting his thoughts on school, football, and workouts. When he takes a hit to the head, Carla, the daughter of a doctor, starts looking into the effects of concussions on football players, finding the same disturbing results that have been in the news. The core story Carla and Jerry's mutual respect, the small-town love of athletics, and the dangers posed by ignorant but well-meaning coaches (and less ignorant and corrupt principals) is fascinating and engaging. Alas, the blog format feels forced, and the huge posts (some as long as 25 pages) aren't always believable in that context. Nonetheless, fans of sports novels and contemporary issues will find the story riveting. Ages 12 up.