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Fantasy League
Cover of Fantasy League
Fantasy League
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From the #1 bestselling author of Heat, Travel Team and Million-Dollar Throw comes a story of every football kid's dream come true. 12-year-old Charlie is a fantasy football guru. He may be just a...
From the #1 bestselling author of Heat, Travel Team and Million-Dollar Throw comes a story of every football kid's dream come true. 12-year-old Charlie is a fantasy football guru. He may be just a...
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  • From the #1 bestselling author of Heat, Travel Team and Million-Dollar Throw comes a story of every football kid's dream come true.

    12-year-old Charlie is a fantasy football guru. He may be just a bench warmer for his school's football team, but when it comes to knowing and loving the game, he's first-string. He even becomes a celebrity when his podcast gets noticed by a sports radio host, who plays Charlie's fantasy picks for all of Los Angeles to hear. Soon Charlie befriends the elderly owner of the L.A. Bulldogs — a fictional NFL team — and convinces him to take a chance on an aging quarterback. After that, watch out . . . it's press conferences and national fame as Charlie becomes a media curiosity and source of conflict for the Bulldogs general manager, whose job Charlie seems to have taken. It's all a bit much for a kid just trying to stay on top of his grades and maintain his friendship with his verbal sparring partner, Anna.

    Like the best Disney film in book form, like Moneyball for kids, Fantasy League is every football kid's dream scenario.

    Praise for FANTASY LEAGUE:

    * "This Moneyball story with kids is on the money."–Booklist, starred review

    "The feel good book of the year."–VOYA

    "Readers will be alternately cheering and reaching for a tissue during the final playoff-deciding game for the Bulldogs. This will be devoured by young football fans."–School Library Journal


  • From the book One

    Here was Charlie Gaines, king of the pro football fantasy leagues even at the age of twelve, not just watching the second preseason game for the Bengals and Giants as much as studying it.

    His mom had come in a few minutes ago and said, "I can't tell, are you watching the game or searching for clues?"


    As soon as she'd come in, he'd paused the screen, freezing on the Giants' rookie quarterback out of Ohio State, Rex Tuttle, as he dropped back into shotgun formation.

    "I'm not distracting you, am I?" she'd said. Charlie had turned, saw her smiling at him, both of them knowing what his answer was going to be.

    "Yes," he'd said.

    "Talk to you after the Super Bowl in February," she'd said, and left.

    Charlie had the remote on one side of him on the bed, laptop on the other. He pointed the remote. The game came back to life, the announcers' voices came back into his room.

    All the company he needed when there was a game on, Charlie happy being alone with football. Good at it. He really preferred watching the games alone unless he was watching with his friend Anna, the only person he knew who loved football as much as he did.
    But then Anna's family actually owned a team.

    It was different with Charlie Gaines; he felt as if the whole league belonged to him, the players and their stats and where they were in their careers and how much Charlie projected they had left in them. Sometimes his mom said that when he dropped his backpack on the table in the front hall, she expected decimal points to come spilling out.

    "How many leagues are you in this season?" she'd said at dinner that night.

    Meaning fantasy leagues.

    "Just counting mine?" he'd said. "Or all the ones I help my friends with?"

    She'd given him a long look. "You still have time for real life, right?"

    Real life to his mom meant three things: friends and school. And his own football team in Pop Warner.

    "Mom," he said, "I know you think sometimes that I've turned into some kind of football geek, that it's all I think about or talk about. But last year I had my best year ever at school. And you know I've got all the friends I could want from school."

    "I'm allowed to worry about my guy," Karla Gaines said to her son. "It's what moms do. If we didn't have worrying, we'd have to do more yoga."

    "I'm fine," he'd said. "And by the way? How can you worry about me and fantasy leagues when you're the one working in what you call the world of make-believe?"

    They lived in Culver City, California, where Sony Studios was located. His mom worked there as an executive assistant for one of the top production guys, still believing she was going to be a movie producer herself someday, constantly on the lookout for what she called the "right script." He'd asked her once if she'd rather have the right script or the right man, having divorced Charlie's dad a long time ago.

    "Script," she'd answered. "If it's the right one, it doesn't leave."

    At dinner tonight she'd said, "I just want your life to be great, pal."

    "It is," Charlie Gaines had told her. Grinning. "How can it not be great? It's football season."

    Most football fans thought the preseason was a waste of time. You hardly got to see the best players, and coaches were afraid of getting their stars hurt before they ever got anywhere near September.

    Charlie didn't care, he loved it all.

    It was football season again. From August all the way through the Super Bowl in February, it was when he was happiest, when his life felt great.

    He didn't have to watch tonight's game alone. He could have invited Anna over,...


  • Kirkus

    August 1, 2014
    Wish fulfillment is the order of the day in Lupica's latest. Charlie "The Brain" Gaines has an uncanny knack with fantasy-football leagues. Though he lacks the skill to be a standout player on the field, when it comes to his favorite game, no one is a better strategist. No one. Including the professionals. So when Charlie's best friend and football buddy, Anna, introduces him to her grandfather Joe Warren, Charlie can't help sharing a bit of insight. You see, Joe Warren happens to own the local football team, the L.A. Bulldogs, and the Bulldogs happen to have a crummy record, and that means they happen to crave advice, even if it comes from a mediocre middle school football player. Lupica plays the "what if" game to posit the notion of a brilliant football mind trapped inside a youthful body. The ploy falls decidedly short, as Charlie's level of football understanding and insight render him something of a savant. Charlie is far more at ease with football jargon than most middle-grade readers could hope to be. Expert-level dissection of football mixes with the melodrama of a fatherless boy's growing attachment to a team owner to contrive an uneven pace. Lacking the intensity of a sustained drive or the urgency of a fourth-and-long play, the story offers more the feeling of trailing an opponent and deciding to sit on the ball until halftime. (Fiction. 10-14)

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    July 1, 2014

    Gr 5 Up-Charlie "The Brain" Gaines may be an average seventh grader in most respects, but he possesses an uncanny knowledge about football teams and a sixth sense about game strategy. A so-so linebacker for his own Pop Warner team, the Culver City Cardinals, Charlie would much rather be on the sidelines, calling plays along with the coach. Best friend Anna Bretton shares Charlie's passion for football, as it is in her blood-her grandfather and uncle own and manage the Los Angeles Bulldogs. She invites Charlie to meet Grandpa Joe and Uncle Matt at a game, and it isn't long before Gramps is captivated by Charlie's commentary. His advice to replace the quarterback with an older and relatively unknown player named Tom Pinkett helps to turn around their losing record. Signing Pinkett to the team turns out to be a winning idea, and when word gets out that the call was made by a 12-year-old, Charlie is hounded by the media and thrust into a spotlight he isn't sure how to handle. Nearly losing his friendship with Anna, Charlie learns a lesson about fame and valuing relationships. Tension soars when Joe Warren falls ill, and readers will be alternately cheering and reaching for a tissue during the final playoff-deciding game for the Bulldogs. This will be devoured by young football fans, who appreciate intricate game details and won't mind a touch of heartwarming sentiment.-Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland

    Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • DOGO Books brayden33 - Charlie was just your average football fan except for the fact that he studied every single play and was a genius at it. He helps lead his football team the Pop Warner Cardinals and a professional team ( The L.A. Bulldogs ) and how he has his best year of his life turn him from an average kid to a 7th-grade sensation. Read to find out the rest

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