Reviews for Unstoppable

Booklist Reviews 2012 October #1
With a sharp intensity fueled by both wrenching events and the main character's white-hot core of rage, Green sends an abused foster kid blasting his way through daunting challenges on and off the football field. Thirteen-year-old Harrison is caught by surprise when his fifth set of foster parents turn out to be a loving couple. Though justifiably suspicious of this change of fortune, he not only makes new friends at school but finds a channel for his temper in the school football team coached by his new foster father. So overwhelmingly fast, strong, and brutal is Harrison that he even intimidates his own team members. But his dream of NFL glory is cut short when an MRI on a knee injury reveals bone cancer advanced enough to require amputation. With coaching from both a hard-nosed disabled vet and an indomitable young fellow patient, Harrison sets his sights not just on rehabilitation but a return to the gridiron. Unlike Green's previous novels, the game action largely stays in the background, while Harrison's ferocious struggles with inner demons and physical obstacles make absorbing reading. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Harrison's mother died an addict and his foster father is abusive. Then he's rescued by a caseworker and placed in a new family. Harrison finds his calling on the football field, but his glory is cut short when he must battle cancer, his toughest obstacle yet. This book offers Green's signature sports action as well as a thoughtful outlook on illness and recovery.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 August #2
Harrison has led a hard-knock life up until he's taken in by loving foster parents "Coach" and Jennifer. After he inadvertently causes the man's death, Harrison is taken from a brutal foster home run by a farmer who uses foster kids as unpaid labor, a situation blithely ignored by the county. His new foster parents are different. Coach is in charge of the middle school football team, and all 13-year-old Harrison has ever wanted to do is to play football, the perfect outlet for his seething undercurrent of anger at life. Oversized for his age, he's brilliant at the game but also over-the-top aggressive, until a hit makes his knee start aching--and then life deals him another devastating blow. The pain isn't an injury but bone cancer. Many of the characters--loving friends Justin and Becky, bully Leo, a mean-spirited math teacher, cancer victim Marty and the major, an amputee veteran who comes to rehabilitate Harrison after life-changing surgery--are straight out of the playbook for maudlin middle-grade fiction. Nevertheless, this effort edges above trite because of well-depicted football scenes and the sheer force of Harrison himself. His altogether believable anger diminishes his likability but breathes life into an otherwise stock role. A predictable, fast-paced sports tale with some unexpected heart. (Fiction. 11-14) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 August

Gr 4-8--Harrison has spent his youth passed from one foster home to another. When he is rescued from an abusive couple and placed with the Kellys, things seem almost too good. Mr. Kelly is the JV football coach at Harrison's new secondary school, and Mrs. Kelly is a lawyer. They have always wanted a child of their own, and soon Harrison is calling her "Mom" and playing on Coach's team. In spite of his lack of football experience, he proves unstoppable on the field when he gets the ball in his hands. Not all of his teammates are happy about their new 13-year-old star, and when Leo intentionally injures him during a practice, it just makes Harrison more determined to play. The knee injury doesn't get better, though, and an MRI shows much more than a torn ligament: suddenly, Harrison is being treated for bone cancer. He goes through surgery, requiring the amputation of part of his leg, and then chemotherapy, and he vacillates between depression and anger. Helping him through it are Coach and Mrs. Kelly, as well as Coach's old Army buddy, Major Bauer, who lost a leg in the Gulf War. Even when Harrison wants to push his friends away, they rally around him, and he allows himself to dream of playing football again, inspired by real-life athlete and amputee Jeff Keith. In short chapters with cliff-hanger endings, Green clearly shows the difficulties that the teen overcomes, and the truly unstoppable spirit that resides within him. While the dialogue can be a little mawkish, this is a hopeful story that Green's fans will enjoy.--Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

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