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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Cover-up: Mystery at the Super Bowl* by John Feinstein- young readers book review
Also by John Feinstein:

Change-up: Mystery at the World Series
Cover-up: Mystery at the Super Bowl
by John Feinstein
Ages 9-12 304 pages Knopf August 2007 Hardcover    

John Feinstein, the prolific and often perceptive author of several sports books, has a sideline venture in writing books for young readers. Using his vast knowledge of the country’s major sports, his novels typically have the undercurrent of reality (“It can happen”) that adds excitement to the stories. His current effort, featuring football and the Super Bowl, has plenty of excitement and more than a large dose of believability.

Readers who have met Feinstein’s two young reporter heroes in previous books (Last Shot and Vanishing Act) by now should be familiar with the preternaturally beautiful and talented Susan Carol Anderson and the more average kid next door, Steve Thomas. The two find themselves at the Super Bowl, Susan to co-host a TV show and Steve, after having lost his co-hosting job, to write for a newspaper. They find themselves embroiled in an investigation involving players, steroids, and a major cover-up by the team. Using their dogged investigation skills, a little bit of luck, and help from others, the detectives unravel the mystery, but only after getting almost too deeply involved in it.

Feinstein’s game strategy and descriptions build the excitement chapter by chapter and from a football point-of-view the climax is riveting. In a charming vignette, the quarterback of the California Dreams, one of the teams in the Super Bowl, talks about a high school football play (the E-D Special) and how its very simplicity made it so effective.

While the average pre-teen may not be interested in reading about Steve’s crush on Susan (a recurring theme), the football excitement is palpable in the book. Complementing the on-field action is a Byzantine plot to fool the authorities that the intrepid young detectives put together piece-by-piece. Together, the plot and the game make this an appealing book for its target market.

Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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  Ram Subramanian/2008 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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