Second Impact by David Klass, Perri Klass
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Sports
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Release Date: August 6th 2013
Synopsis: 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.
Sports, while interesting and can be exciting, are something that I don’t have much knowledge about, or have read much about. I have read some sports-related books, like the Dairy Queen series, but never came across one that made me really think about the pressure and risk that come with playing a sport, especially playing one of the more violent ones. But thanks to Savindi’s beautiful review, I decided to pick up Second Impact. And man, this novel is thought-provoking.
Second Impact, told through blog posts and emails, is about Jerry Downing, Kendall high school’s star quarterback, who is currently trying to redeem himself after he severely injures someone in a drunk driving accident in the past year, and Carla Jenson, a reporter for the sports section in the school’s newspaper, who has asked Jerry to also blog about the football season. Things start heating up after Jerry’s friend Danny (who is also a player on the team) gets hit on the head hard enough to get injured. Carla starts blogging about the injuries that a person can suffer from because of playing sports and if it is really worth it. But some people want Carla to stay quiet.
I was expecting a thought-provoking read when I first decided to pick up this book, but I didn’t expect for the book to be this thought-provoking. The novel shows the risks that come with football (and any sport, really), but also showed the positive things about it. And for the journalism aspect of the novel, it showed that some stories must be honestly told, but that there are also lines that should not be crossed. Second Impact really got the gears on my brain turning. Is risking such horrible injuries worth playing the game? Should football be banned? Will it be banned? Should people keep quiet about some things? Why are people who say their opinions are ostracized? Are sports becoming too important? My mind was filled with thoughts and opinions by the time I got to the last page.
What I believe makes Second Impact so thought-provoking is how the story is told through two very different perspectives, with each perspective having a different view on things. Jerry being the one who loves football and thinks the risk is worth it, and Carla (who happens to be a former soccer player) being the one who questions the worth of playing a sport when there is such danger. Both of these perspectives have something great to offer and are very interesting. It also helps that both characters feel believable and realistic.
Jerry is a character that I found easy to love. He is passionate, hard-working, and very honest. He knows he has made a terrible mistake in the past and he really works at redeeming and proving himself. And his love for football and writing is absolutely contagious. I felt excited whenever he wrote about a football game and just really enjoyed the parts of the book that were told through his eyes as a whole.
Carla is also a great character that I found just as engaging as Jerry. When she is wanting to do something, she puts all she has into it (I still can’t believe she went through a surgery awake). She’s brave, strong-willed, and is a force to be reckoned with. Carla doesn’t hesitate when it is time for her to stand up for herself and to voice her beliefs to people. The writers did a job well done with her character.
It is undeniable that David and Perri Klass are great writers. They really know how to tell a story, make you pumped up, and think. And the prose is pretty strong also. But I couldn’t bring myself to love the format of how the story was told. I think that writing Second Impact though first-person narration and not with blog posts and emails would have been much better. This might be different for other people, of course, as the authors do an amazing job with the blog posts and emails– I just didn’t feel completely in love with the format.
Second Impact is an excellent novel about football and journalism that will keep a person reading until midnight (well, it kept me up ’till midnight). If you have read Dairy Queen and want to read something more serious and mature, this is the story for you. Or if you just want to read a book about sports, this book is for you. Or do you want a story that is extremely thought-provoking, again, this is for you. Second Impact will be able to appeal to all kinds of readers, I believe. I highly recommend it.