Muckers Info

Book and Ebook Reviews of the Best Kids' Books - Read over 214 reviews for Muckers by Neil Wallace,Aleksandra Crapanzano and see what others have to say about this book before you download. Read&Download Muckers by Neil Wallace,Aleksandra Crapanzano Online Author:Neil Wallace,Aleksandra Crapanzano Formats:Paperback,Hardcover,Kindle Publication Date:Jun 9, 2015


Former ESPN sportscaster Sandra Neil Wallace makes her young
adult debut with a historical fiction novel that School Library
Journal
recommends to fans of Friday Night Lights in a
starred review.
 
Felix “Red”
O’Sullivan’s world is crumbling around him: the mine that
employs most of town is on the brink of closing, threatening to shutter
the entire town and his high school with it. But Red’s got his own
burdens to bear: his older brother, Bobby, died in the war, and
he’s been struggling to follow in his footsteps ever since. That
means assuming Bobby’s old position as quarterback and leading the
last-ever Muckers team to the championship.
 
But the only
way for the hardscrabble Muckers to win State is to go undefeated and
tackle their biggest rival, Phoenix United, which would be something of a
miracle. Luckily, miracles can happen all the time on the
field.
From the Hardcover edition.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.02

214 Ratings

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Reviews for Muckers:

4

Oct 10, 2013

It's a funny thing about our town.
We're used to getting cut up. And the one thing we know how to do is fight. And if I don't fight on that field this afternoon and win, we'll be forgotten. The memory of Hatley gone for good, too, with Coach and Maw and Bobby along with it. And that's not how it's going to be.

There are two things that matter to the town of Hatley, Arizona: mining and football. And that's about it. In 1950, when the copper veinsthe town's largest source of laborbegin to dry up and It's a funny thing about our town.
We're used to getting cut up. And the one thing we know how to do is fight. And if I don't fight on that field this afternoon and win, we'll be forgotten. The memory of Hatley gone for good, too, with Coach and Maw and Bobby along with it. And that's not how it's going to be.

There are two things that matter to the town of Hatley, Arizona: mining and football. And that's about it. In 1950, when the copper veins—the town's largest source of labor—begin to dry up and threaten to shut down not only the mine, but also the entire town, the future seems bleak with only the smallest feather of hope remaining: Hatley High School's football team's final season.

Set in the grim, desperate backdrop of the Korean War during the second Communist scare, Muckers is a story about the team that had all odds against them, but still found a way to run and fight and survive through the muck—and emerge not only alive, but also triumphant. This is a football story, yes, but it's also a war story, as well as a family story, a love story, a personal story—a very real story.

Red O'Sullivan is no stranger to wartime's tragic effects; the last war that swept the globe changed everything in his life, and this new one is about to do the same. As quarterback, he has a sense of dismay knowing his team's the smallest, scrawniest in Arizona, but it's certainly not the weakest—and that's what keeps him holding on, because it may be the only thing Hatley has left. The last time the town saw something so hopeful was when Red's older brother, Bobby, brought home the Northern title nine years back. Now, everyone's counting on Red to redeem the collapsing town, and this just may be his last shot.

This book was really slow-paced, which had me skimming a lot; I feel it wouldn't hold the attention of younger readers well. However, I'm a huge fan of sports novels and so I refused to give in too easily, and in the end, I am so, so glad I did.

Muckers combines Red's frank, but heartbreakingly tenacious narrative with local newspaper clippings of the time, to expose the untold, valiant history of the real-life Jerome Muckers. Wallace gives careful, stimulating attention to period detail and breathes life into the inspired fictional town of Hatley. There are so many different issues within this book that she handles well, including those on politics, race, the real meaning of family, teamwork, and never giving up; Muckers could really teach our middle and high schoolers about succeeding in even the most disadvantageous of circumstances, just by persevering.

I was particularly intrigued by the origins of this novel, explained beautifully in the author's note. This football team literally had nothing left for them, but they fought hard to earn the only type of victory they could reach. The civil rights issues are interesting, as well; while most American high schools at this time were segregated, Jerome, and Hatley, were rare in that it was inhabited by both caucasians and Mexican-Americans. However, even though they all lived together, the racial tensions are still clearly prevalent, and the way the town manages to overcome them—even if only for the sake of the football team—is glittering, exultant.

Pros
Raw; hits exactly the right notes // Moving story // Captures the genuine hopes and worries and fears of the age // Vibrant, distinct characters // Forbidden romance sidestory // Detailed, suspenseful sports fiction // Preserves the amazing Muckers football team in literature

Cons
On the slow side // The writing style itself isn't particularly impressive

Love
Melvin smiles and runs for the field.

"Wait!" Cruz takes the nose guard off his helmet. He straps it onto Melvin's.

"Am I gonna die?" Melvin asks.

"We're all gonna die someday," Cruz says, "but not before we win."

Verdict
Friday Night Lights meets Remember the Titans in this highly-charged, visceral young adult novel that has both spirit and soul. Harrowing, eye-opening, and tenderly honest, Muckers masterfully recounts an inspiring story about how one resilient high school football team finds victory through enduring the tragic, unforgiving demands of war and the injustices of racial divide. Sandra Neil Wallace did a marvelous thing by digging up the forgotten letters and faded newspapers that made up this previously overlooked narrative, and bringing it to light. This is the kind of story that deserves a special spot in American football history. Fortunately, through this novel, the Hatley Muckers get the chance to prove themselves, while the real-life Jerome Muckers, in their blazing glory, get the chance to be remembered.

Rating: 8 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): An engaging read that will be worth your while; highly recommended.

Source
Complimentary copy provided by publisher via tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Random House and TLC!) ...more
5

Oct 21, 2015

I could not put down Muckers br Sandra Neil Wallance. The book was realistic fiction. It was about a small mining football team that had not won a championship since reds brother died in a war. While the football teams are playing each other the war against Korea is going on. The main character known as red is a nice intelligent guy who cares about almost every one the one person he does not care for is his dad. Reds dad is a miner who is rude to red. Reds mom also named Maw is in a hospital I could not put down Muckers br Sandra Neil Wallance. The book was realistic fiction. It was about a small mining football team that had not won a championship since reds brother died in a war. While the football teams are playing each other the war against Korea is going on. The main character known as red is a nice intelligent guy who cares about almost every one the one person he does not care for is his dad. Reds dad is a miner who is rude to red. Reds mom also named Maw is in a hospital she can hardly speak she is in bad condition and is very caring to red. Red has friends named Cruz,Rabbit and tony. Cruz is a very important character in the book and rabbit goes and joins the war.Cruz and rabbit never get along. This was one of my favorite books and I strongly recommend this book to many people. ...more
5

Jul 17, 2014

This YA novel, set in 1950, is based on the true story of a dying Arizona mining town and their last chance football team before the high school closes for good. The grit and guts and bravery of these players are evident on every page, despite heartbreaking family situations, rampant prejudice against Mexicans, and the hellish life of the miners. The team's football field is on slag, not grass, and borders on an open pit. Yet, Red, Cruz, Rabbit, and all the memorable characters give it This YA novel, set in 1950, is based on the true story of a dying Arizona mining town and their last chance football team before the high school closes for good. The grit and guts and bravery of these players are evident on every page, despite heartbreaking family situations, rampant prejudice against Mexicans, and the hellish life of the miners. The team's football field is on slag, not grass, and borders on an open pit. Yet, Red, Cruz, Rabbit, and all the memorable characters give it everything they've got. A must-read! ...more
4

Oct 26, 2013

The vintage feel of this was brilliant. Sadly, it was just too young adult for my middle school students. I'd love it if Ms. Wallace would join her husband in writing for middle grade!
4

Nov 14, 2018

Muckers by Sandra Neil Wallace is a story about how a team with no hope, separation because of race, and the smallest team on the field goes for the championship. Their quarterback, Felix Red OSullivan, suffers from his brother fighting in the war and he passes away. I would recommend this book to people who love sports and who love a little bit of history included. His dad is a drunk because of his son dying. Also, his mom is in the hospital because she went crazy after her son died. Felix has “Muckers” by Sandra Neil Wallace is a story about how a team with no hope, separation because of race, and the smallest team on the field goes for the championship. Their quarterback, Felix “Red’ O’Sullivan, suffers from his brother fighting in the war and he passes away. I would recommend this book to people who love sports and who love a little bit of history included. His dad is a drunk because of his son dying. Also, his mom is in the hospital because she went “crazy” after her son died. Felix has a great personality, he loves to be with his friends. He doesn’t mind sneaking out and doing a little bit of mischief, like writing “Hello” on the hill where their big “H” is representing Hatley. Another struggle is the team has to fight through different times to go swimming and that they are judged by the color of their skin. The white kids are well respected as the Mexicans are not treated as well just because the color of their skin. The one way that they can get out of being treated horribly is playing football. The kids on the team have to join together if they want to win the championship because they barely even have enough kids to play. The team just has to keep digging no matter what happens. The team just keeps digging. Overall, the reason this book should be read is because this shows how the team demonstrates grit, they overcome all obstacles, and they come together no matter what their race. Even though that is not what they are taught outside of school because of the “difference” between the whites and the Mexicans.
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0

Oct 11, 2019

Muckers was inspired by a true story based in the 1950s about the high school football team in the small mining town of Hatley, Arizona. They have so little, but they learn how to make the most out of everything. They live in a very small town, so they barely have enough football players in their high school to make up a team. One quote that portrays the story pretty well is this, Were used to getting cut up. And the one thing we know how to do is fight. And if I don't fight on that field this Muckers was inspired by a true story based in the 1950’s about the high school football team in the small mining town of Hatley, Arizona. They have so little, but they learn how to make the most out of everything. They live in a very small town, so they barely have enough football players in their high school to make up a team. One quote that portrays the story pretty well is this, “We’re used to getting cut up. And the one thing we know how to do is fight. And if I don't fight on that field this afternoon and win, we’ll be forgotten. The memory of Hatley gone for good, too, with Coach and Maw and Bobby along with it. And that's not how it’s going to be.”.
The story mainly follows starting quarterback, Red O’Sullivan. He has a lot of pressure on him to do good this season, and it’s kind of a lot for him to handle. I can connect to him because sometimes I feel that it's so hard to live up to every ones expectations and sometimes its too hard to bear. Another way I connected to this story was that it reminded me about other sports movies like Remember the Titans. They were given so many struggles to overcome, but they came together as a team and overcame those struggles.
Overall, I liked reading this book. I like sports and football so I was interested in pretty much the whole time. I think they did a really good job making their team the underdog, which really made me want them to succeed and do good. I would give this book about a ⅘, and would highly recommend it to anybody who is interested in sports.
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2

Aug 03, 2019

I really struggled with this one. I did not care for the style of writing--sometimes it became vague. I love football, so I thought I would love the book--especially something based on history. I read other books before I finished this one, just because I did not find it engaging.
5

Jul 22, 2019

Best football novel Ive ever read by far. Best football novel I’ve ever read by far. ...more
4

Oct 02, 2013

I was notified that Id one the giveaway for a copy of Muckers a couple of weeks ago, and less than two weeks later did I receive it in the mail. So special thanks to the author, Sandra Neil Wallace, for fast shipment and hosting the giveaway in the first place!
To be honest, when I first heard Id won a copy of this book, I was a little skeptical. Sure, I liked football, and I didnt mind reading from a boys point of view, but this 1950s-set, racism-confronting book wasnt the type of novel I I was notified that I’d one the giveaway for a copy of Muckers a couple of weeks ago, and less than two weeks later did I receive it in the mail. So special thanks to the author, Sandra Neil Wallace, for fast shipment and hosting the giveaway in the first place!
To be honest, when I first heard I’d won a copy of this book, I was a little skeptical. Sure, I liked football, and I didn’t mind reading from a boy’s point of view, but this 1950’s-set, racism-confronting book wasn’t the type of novel I usually preferred reading. All I can say now is boy was I wrong! It’s hard for even myself to believe, but looking back, I actually really enjoyed Muckers! Loved it, even! It took a few chapters before it really got started, but once the snowball formed, it just kept going and going, and the book kept getting better and better! Felix ‘Red’ O’Sullivan has a lot riding on his scrawny shoulders: his football team perhaps being the last to ever play for Hatley High, living out his dead brother’s legacy, dealing with his brusque father and ‘crazy’ mother, and being in love with a girl who’s not really of his ‘kind’. Set in Arizona over sixty years ago, Muckers explores just how difficult things could get when living in a small town built for mining and following the years of a world war. If you’re a teen like myself, then maybe you’re not so sure on how seriously race was taken back then; and, [un]fortunately, I’ve learned from this novel that it was a great deal. Things went as far as living on different sides of towns, different church times for ‘brown’ and ‘white’ people, and ‘brown’ persons only being allowed in the public pool on certain days and the water needing to be heavily cleansed once they were done. So you can imagine how difficult it is for Red, who’s nearly in love with his best friend Cruz’s little sister, Angie (who’s Mexican/Latina). This sweet, memorable story manages to incorporate just enough romance to add a bit of spice and support to the main lesson it portrays: what it means to find your dreams and go after them with everything you have. Red and his friends have known for the while now that the mining town they grew up in hasn’t been doing as good as it used to – in fact, the small town of Hatley is just about ready to close down. This means multiple things to multiple people, but to the students of Hatley High, all it means is that this is the football team’s last year to win Nationals; a possibility that is more than highly unlikely for a team made of approximately fourteen players who are all under 150lbs. Despite the fact that this book has a highly satisfying and emotional ending, it is not unrealistic in the smallest. This story follows Red as he and his team ‘dig deeper into the muck’ and work harder than they ever had before, knowing their success and legacy is on the line. It doesn’t portray the hard work like a television show might; no fast-forward, rapid progress that seems to happen without an ounce of effort. No, the book itself ‘digs deep into the muck’ and just about teaches you how to have a dream and go after it with everything you got, no matter the difficulty and lack of odds.
I found the writing very descriptive, with a good use of adjectives, adverbs, and especially similes. It gives the perfect mental image of how things must’ve been back then. The only thing I found slightly difficult to determine would be what age group this is best suitable for. At first, I thought that it might be the perfect book for boys and girls aged 10-15. It incorporates life lessons, sports, and family all into one and isn’t real graphic with the romance. But then multiple times I found myself reading than a few sexual references that, sure, most of the time were funny, but just kind of confused me. As a result of that, I’d say this book is best fitted for any kid 12 and up; at least it’s honest. I’m sure things were different fifty years ago, but I’m not exactly sure how different the average teenage boy mind was. I’d just about recommend this book to anyone: doesn’t matter if you prefer romance, action, or fantasy. It’s an informative novel that’s a refreshing break from corrupt governments and vampires. It’s as educational as sitting in history class, yet with excitement of playing in an actual football game! Overall, I was excited and thoroughly pleased with this novel that was inspired by a true story, and will definitely keep an eye out for Sandra Neil Wallace and anymore young adult novels that she might have coming out.
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3

Sep 21, 2017

I wonder why Felix doubts himself so much, he always goes with what others say about him, everyone si relying on him to have a successful season for the Muckers but if all he does is doubt then nothing will happen.
4

Oct 10, 2013

Review Posted on Reading Lark 11/7/13: http://readinglark.blogspot.com/2013/...

I was intrigued by the novel due to its historical roots and the focus on football. I have always been a huge football fan; Autumn is my favorite season as a result. I love the cooler temperatures and watching the college ball on Saturday and pro ball on Monday, Thursday, and Sunday. Football is one of those things that just makes my heart happy.

Not only was I impressed by the amount of historical research that Review Posted on Reading Lark 11/7/13: http://readinglark.blogspot.com/2013/...

I was intrigued by the novel due to its historical roots and the focus on football. I have always been a huge football fan; Autumn is my favorite season as a result. I love the cooler temperatures and watching the college ball on Saturday and pro ball on Monday, Thursday, and Sunday. Football is one of those things that just makes my heart happy.

Not only was I impressed by the amount of historical research that dominates these pages, but Wallace really knows her football as well. She is a former employee of ESPN so I shouldn't have worried about that aspect. I have to admit I also love seeing women involved with football. It's nice to know that there are others who share my passion for the sport.

Muckers tells the story of a football team in a struggling mining town in Arizona. I found this one to be reminiscent of The Outsiders with a dose of Rudy mixed in. It was nice to read about a group of guys that were not wealthy or devastatingly gorgeous for a change. I liked that these characters were real and raw. The struggles of the town takes a toll on the main characters and I found their story to be inspiring. I have always enjoyed reading about the stories that have been largely ignored in the past. I particularly enjoyed that Mexican characters played a prominent role. I often have trouble finding novels that showcase this culture. I was so excited to finally find a well written book that would appeal to my male students of all races, but also one that would allow my Mexican students to see themselves reflected in the characters. Also, who doesn't love a great underdog story?

In addition to the great football moments and the realistic, multicultural characters, I found that Wallace also painted a portrait that focused on the historical and social issues of the 1950's. The Red Scare is in full swing and racism is deeply entrenched in many minds. Segregation is not just between whites and African Americans during this time period; I feel its important for teens to learn about other groups who faced discrimination. Issues of social justice and socioeconomic status also arise throughout this novel. The effects of the Korean War also take center stage from time to time. There are just so many juicy historical tidbits contained within these pages.

My only complaint was that it did take me awhile to settle into the narration. Part of this is solely my fault. I rarely read books with male main characters; it can be difficult for me to step into the male mind. I was thrown off by some of the conversations the boys had and kept having to remind myself that this is typical teenage boy behavior. Once I settled into the story and the male mindset, I quickly lost myself in this town and this team.

One Last Gripe: I mentioned my only complaint in the review. I have no gripes other than that one and again, I fully admit that was a personal issue, not an issue with the novel itself.

My Favorite Thing About this Book: It's a tie between the football and the rich historical details

First Sentence: I come to the shanty in the Barrio from behind, dipping under the broken shutters so the late-October moon won't cast a shadow and wake up Cruz.

Favorite Character: Red

Least Favorite Character: I didn't have one. ...more
4

Feb 09, 2015

Sandra Wallaces message in the book Muckers is to never lose hope and to never stop fighting for what you believe in. I feel that Wallace thinks of life as a bounce back in lacrosse. In life one gets thrown and flung around like a lacrosse ball, but they should never stop trying to bounce back to the steady reliable stick. This story takes place in a town called Hatley during 1950. This is a poor mining town in Arizona. Their mine is about to close, and many families will have to move. The Sandra Wallace’s message in the book Muckers is to never lose hope and to never stop fighting for what you believe in. I feel that Wallace thinks of life as a bounce back in lacrosse. In life one gets thrown and flung around like a lacrosse ball, but they should never stop trying to bounce back to the steady reliable stick. This story takes place in a town called Hatley during 1950. This is a poor mining town in Arizona. Their mine is about to close, and many families will have to move. The little life that is still in this town is provided by their football team. They have never won a state championship and this will be their last shot. This novel is written in first person through the prospective of the main character Red O’Sullivan. Red is a senior in high school, and is the starting quarterback of the football team. His best friend, Cruz, is the running back for their football team. Red is white, and Cruz is Mexican. Because of the race difference it is hard for Red to date Cruz’s sister, Angie. However, Red does not care about the race difference, so he finds time to spend with angie even if Cruz will kill him because of it. This year the Hatley Muckers are the smallest in the state in size and numbers. However, they are tough, scrappy, and determined. Red arguably has the most pressure out of anyone on the team. Not only is he the leader out on the field, but his brother was the Mucker’s quarterback when they lost in states. Now his brother, Bobby, is dead due to the Korean War. Red has high expectations to live up to.
I really enjoyed this book. It really emphasized the title, Muckers. A mucker is “one who shovels loose rock or muck into the mine core, sorting the ore from waste”(back of book). Hatley is mostly made up of miners and muckers who live hard lives. The football teams always give them happiness and hope; especially this year because the mine is closing. I found it inspirational that the football team has so much mucker pride that they took out a good player in the biggest game of their lives for a player less than 100 pounds. This was because the good player was rich and didn’t play with grit and mucker spirit. I play football, and I found this story very motivational. It reminded me that one wins when they give their all and put a lot of effort into what they are doing. One should always strive to play with grit, determination, and heart. The novel is also an example of how sports don’t only matter off the field. They give hope and happiness; as they clearly did in Hatley. This book was well written and fascinating. It is based on a true story which I always find give books a little extra spark. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys sports and is willing to read historical fiction. This is a fabulous book.
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3

Nov 05, 2015

Over all I think the book is very good and it has a good story plot. What makes me really like the book is that it's about football and football is my favorite sport and this book is all about it. What makes this book so good is that it's about a boy name Felix O'sullivan and he plays football and their team hasn't been good and there town isn't doing so good so they want to try and make it better and up and running again. So in order to make their small town better they want to win the state Over all I think the book is very good and it has a good story plot. What makes me really like the book is that it's about football and football is my favorite sport and this book is all about it. What makes this book so good is that it's about a boy name Felix O'sullivan and he plays football and their team hasn't been good and there town isn't doing so good so they want to try and make it better and up and running again. So in order to make their small town better they want to win the state championship so they have to be really good and remain undefeated. What makes this book stand out is that felix wasn't the best football player and when his brother passed away from the war that's when he started trying really hard and get better and he know that the team had to be in shape to remain undefeated and win the championship. The author Sandra Neil Wallace did a really good job writing this nonfiction book and she used good descriptive words and just made the book stand out and made you not want to put the book down because you never knew what was going to happen. They setting is good but I think it would of been better if it was in a good and up and running
town instead of a run down town. Even though I don't like that setting it makes it better because it gives the team more power to get up on their feet and trying to win the championship. I wouldn't say this was my favorite book but its was a good book and I don't really like reading but this book made me not want to stop reading because it kept making you think when you did. I would suggest if you don't have a book to read then I would read this book because its is a really good and you won't want to put it down. The only thing I didn't like was it was sometimes hard to understand parts of the book because it didn't get in detail with some of the things that the author wrote about in the book but I mean there were a lot of parts where you did understand what she was writing about. I like the way the author wrote about the main character Felix O'sullivan because she says that he was that good at sports and he wanted to play football and he knew that he had to try and get better for him to start on his football team. In the book the muckers Sandra Neil Wallace quoted’’When you town is about to crumble you dig deeper into the muck and find away to win’’(wallace,2013). I think this was one of the best quotes in the book she wrote because it pretty much say when you think you won't win keep your head up and make sure your team don't give and miracles may happen and this mean that they could when the state championship for their town and school. ...more
4

Nov 02, 2013

For Hatley, Arizona, the mine is life but to Red O'Sullivan it seems it's going to close any day. In fact, their school is already set to shut its doors permanently in the coming months, with all of the students pretty guaranteed to be sent to their rival school in Cottonville. The only thing second to the mine in Hatley is football. The Hatley Muckers have gone to the state championship just twice - once with Red's own brother leading them - and now it's Red's turn. The odds are against them in For Hatley, Arizona, the mine is life but to Red O'Sullivan it seems it's going to close any day. In fact, their school is already set to shut its doors permanently in the coming months, with all of the students pretty guaranteed to be sent to their rival school in Cottonville. The only thing second to the mine in Hatley is football. The Hatley Muckers have gone to the state championship just twice - once with Red's own brother leading them - and now it's Red's turn. The odds are against them in every way - their record isn't great, they only have fourteen players, and they're outweighed by every other team in the state - but Red and his friends are determined. With the whole town seemingly relying on them, the Muckers are dead set and ready to fight for the championship.

If you're under the impression that this is just a football book, you're definitely mistaken. Set in 1950 and based on the real life story of the Jerome Muckers, Sandra Neil Wallace fleshes out this story of football and the state championship with real people and social issues.

Red and his family have never recovered from losing his brother, Bobby, in WWII and one of Red's own friends is off to join the war in Korea. As the Communist scare worsens, one of the teachers at Hatley High is ready to turn in every last townsperson if so much as a hint of red is revealed.

Hatley itself is a town divided with pieces of it sectioned off by race. And while their school is integrated - as the real Jerome school was - the opposing teams are shocked to find Mexicans playing on the same team as whites. For Red it's made that much worse because the object of his affection is Mexican and the town definitely frowns on mixed race couples. Not that that's enough to stop a teenager in love!

I loved MUCKERS in the same way that I loved Friday Night Lights (the tv show). The characters on the page were here with me as I read and I honestly couldn't resist the fact that it was based on a true story. The idea that Wallace discovered this cache of letters and clippings telling what was until now an almost forgotten story was one that appealed to me on so many levels. MUCKERS is a true win in my opinion! ...more
5

Oct 02, 2014

The novel The Mucker's by Sandra Neil Wallace is a well-written nonfiction book that mainly focuses on the sport of football. If you are a football fan you would love this book a lot. The novel is about the struggle of the football team to try and win the state championship and save their hometown. In the Mucker's, the main character Felix "Red" O'Sullivan, is the last final hope of the small town of Hatley, Arizona. Since he is the quarterback of the football team, it is his responsibility to The novel The Mucker's by Sandra Neil Wallace is a well-written nonfiction book that mainly focuses on the sport of football. If you are a football fan you would love this book a lot. The novel is about the struggle of the football team to try and win the state championship and save their hometown. In the Mucker's, the main character Felix "Red" O'Sullivan, is the last final hope of the small town of Hatley, Arizona. Since he is the quarterback of the football team, it is his responsibility to win every game to prevent the town from being abandoned. In Hatley, football is a very big event that almost upholds the town, other than the copper mine that is on the verge of being shut down. It is the last year the Hatley Mucker's will be playing football since the high school is shutting down at the end of the year; it is the last chance to save the high school and the town. The whole football team, including Red, is the most motivated that they have ever been, but one question still remains can they win the state championship to save their beloved town.

When you finish the end of one chapter, you are so ambitious to find out what will happen in the next chapter, that you start to read the next chapter. "Cruz eludes another tackler and dives over the line, hitting pay dirt" (Page. 167). This quote and chapter was a big part in the book because it was when the Mucker's football team won their last rivalry and it was a sign of hope for the football team that they have a chance to win the state championship. "The other players slip and fall but she's much kinder to me, catching my hurtling body a foot beyond the goal line and letting me slide gently along her skin..." (Page. 246). This quote was the biggest part in the book, when the Mucker's football team win the state championship against Phoenix. After all their struggles, the Hatley Mucker's found a way to work together and win. I would have to say that this book goes on my Top 5 favorite books of all time. I thought that this novel was very descriptive and well written. I felt that I could visualize the whole story in my head. I would rate The Mucker's by Sandra Neil Wallace 5 out of 5 stars. ...more
5

Jun 23, 2014

Summary:
Red is the quarterback of the last Muckers football team. His little town is crumbling around him. He will be one of the final members to graduate from his high school and the last quarterback of the high school football team. Along with the town pretty much shutting down because of loss of jobs and people suffering from the losses from the war, Red has to deal with a father that has become very distant since the death of his older brother in the war. In order to win his father's Summary:
Red is the quarterback of the last Muckers football team. His little town is crumbling around him. He will be one of the final members to graduate from his high school and the last quarterback of the high school football team. Along with the town pretty much shutting down because of loss of jobs and people suffering from the losses from the war, Red has to deal with a father that has become very distant since the death of his older brother in the war. In order to win his father's attention and endear his last year of high school, Red has to lead his team to victory. Their goal is an undefeated season to send them to the state championships. Will this dying town be able to pull it through?

My thoughts:
As a fan of school sports and the way that they bring everyone together, I was on board with this novel from the beginning. After reading about the true story through a quick Google search, I was even more impressed. Muckers really brings your heart into the game and the trials that Red goes through. Everything seems to come to life and I feel myself rooting as if I was at the games. Along with that, this book investigates family dynamics and a lot of racial tensions. Muckers is one of the few football teams that is not segregated. Because of this, there are some moments of questioning who belongs and who does not. Ultimately though, this is an against all odds type of story that will warm the heart. I'd like to think this is a cross over book. While it is marketed towards young adults, adults will also clearly love the story. There isn't a lot of language or scenes that I would be particularly worried about for a middle school audience either. It's rare that books can touch so many audiences with the same amount of joy. I'm glad to have had the chance to read Red's story. ...more
3

Nov 11, 2013

I went into this book thinking it was going to be mostly about football, but in reality the football is only a vehicle for the other stories the author wants to tell.

The main character of this story is Red O'Sullivan, who is having a hard time in life. Between a father who barely cares if he's there or not, a mother who's gone crazy, and trying to live up to the reputation of his dead older brother, it's a wonder Red is keeping himself together at all. But with the support of his best friend, I went into this book thinking it was going to be mostly about football, but in reality the football is only a vehicle for the other stories the author wants to tell.

The main character of this story is Red O'Sullivan, who is having a hard time in life. Between a father who barely cares if he's there or not, a mother who's gone crazy, and trying to live up to the reputation of his dead older brother, it's a wonder Red is keeping himself together at all. But with the support of his best friend, Cruz, Red proves himself on the football field, and brings the mining town together in a tumultuous time.

The author has a knack for making you feel the desperation in the characters, and in the town itself. For generations, the mine has been Hatley's main source of income. But over time, the mountain has pretty much given all it's got to give. Jobs are getting scarce, and the town, which was already on a fine line, is getting ready to collapse. Races are sharply divided, but the one thing everyone can agree on is cheering for the high school football team, aptly and sadly named the Muckers. Their practice field is full of rocks, and they have to practice tackles with a school bus. No one expects Red to do much, but to everyone's surprise, and his own, he does.

I did enjoy the book, but there were so many parts of it I thought were very slow and found myself skimming. For the first few games, the football was hardly described at all. But I did feel for Red and everyone else in the town, who had all suffered in some way or another.

While the story touches the reader's heart, it's even more emotional when you think that this book was actually based on a true story. I am very glad I'm living in the generation I am a part of now.

If you like your sports stories with plenty of background and heart, give Muckers a read. ...more
0

Apr 27, 2014

Muckers is based on the true story of the 1950 Jerome Muckers football team and the championship season that rallied an Arizona town together and turned tragedy into a triumph.
The novel goes deep into the rocky terrain of a racially-divided town and a team whose world is suddenly upended, widening the rift between Anglos and Mexican Americans forced to choose between cohesion or rebellion.
Red OSullivans world is crumbling around him; the mine that employs most of town is on the brink of Muckers is based on the true story of the 1950 Jerome Muckers football team and the championship season that rallied an Arizona town together and turned tragedy into a triumph.
The novel goes deep into the rocky terrain of a racially-divided town and a team whose world is suddenly upended, widening the rift between Anglos and Mexican Americans forced to choose between cohesion or rebellion.
Red O’Sullivan’s world is crumbling around him; the mine that employs most of town is on the brink of closing, threatening to shutter the entire town. Red will be part of the final graduating class of Hatley High School, but he’s got his own burdens to bear; his older brother, Bobby, died in the war, and he’s been struggling to follow in his footsteps ever since. That means assuming Bobby’s old position as quarterback, and leading the last-ever Muckers team to the championship. Maybe then his angry, broken-hearted father will acknowledge him, and they’ll be able to put Bobby’s death behind them.
While the Muckers are racially-united, their town is divided. Anglos live near the top of the mountain and Mexican Americans down below—where Red’s best friend Cruz lives, and Angie, who Red longs to be with. When the Communist scare threatens to tear the team apart, Red and the hardscrabble Muckers must find a way to go undefeated and win the state title.
I like the book Muckers because it focuses on real situations that happened back in the 1950s with the start of fall. I focused on how a racially segregated town came together to become a diverse team. ...more
3

Nov 11, 2014

Muckers is a story about a young teen football player that encounters many challenges through his football career. Felix OSullivan (Red) is under a lot of pressure due to his brother dying in the war. After his brother died, Red had problems following his brothers footsteps. As his whole town, including his high school, was on the brink of destruction, they had once last option. The Muckers had to win the State Championship. The only way they could do that was by going undefeated, which meant Muckers is a story about a young teen football player that encounters many challenges through his football career. Felix O’Sullivan (Red) is under a lot of pressure due to his brother dying in the war. After his brother died, Red had problems following his brother’s footsteps. As his whole town, including his high school, was on the brink of destruction, they had once last option. The Muckers had to win the State Championship. The only way they could do that was by going undefeated, which meant beating their biggest rival: Phoenix United. Obviously, the Muckers needed a miracle and luckily for them, football came with many miracles.

I give this book a 7 out of 10. This book was quite confusing at times making it hard to understand throughout the whole book. The only reason why I tended to like it, was because there were multiple gut punching moments in the book. Football books cause a lot of emotions like: excitement, sadness, happiness, and confusion. This book happened to have all four making it a good book, however, there was too much confusion making it less interesting.

If you have read and like any of the football books that Tim Green has wrote, then this book is for you. Football Hero by Tim Green is very similar to this book. That is partially why I decided to start reading this book. Both of the books deal with a kid with a lot of stress, but a kid that pulls through in the end with a miracle. This book is definitely a good read if you like football, heroic, or older books.
...more
3

Sep 08, 2013

SLJ Reviews 2013 December

Gr 8 UpBased on the true story of a 1950 scrappy high school football team out of Jerome, Arizona, this novel is about an underdog victory. Felix "Red" O'Sullivan and his friends have grown up in the copper-mining town of Hatley, but the ore has depleted over the years. The town has become so small that Hatley High will be closing at the end of the year and students will begin attending school with their Cottonville rivals. The Muckers football team is the smallest in SLJ Reviews 2013 December

Gr 8 Up—Based on the true story of a 1950 scrappy high school football team out of Jerome, Arizona, this novel is about an underdog victory. Felix "Red" O'Sullivan and his friends have grown up in the copper-mining town of Hatley, but the ore has depleted over the years. The town has become so small that Hatley High will be closing at the end of the year and students will begin attending school with their Cottonville rivals. The Muckers football team is the smallest in the state, but Coach Hansen and his players are determined to make their final year one that the whole town will remember. What they don't have in brawn, they make up for in sheer toughness. While the outcome of the state championship is no surprise, the novel's strength lies in the development of its characters, especially Red, who is dealing with the loss of his football-champion brother during World War II and his mother's resulting breakdown. Red also has to fight his town's prejudice when he wants to date the sister of his best friend, a Mexican American. Clips from the local paper will broaden readers' perspectives on both the financial straits that the town is in and the McCarthyism that insidiously threatens the townspeople's cohesion. While the large cast of characters can be hard to keep track of, fans of H.G. Bissinger's Friday Night Lights (Addison-Wesley, 1990) and other football histories will appreciate this inspiring tale.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

...more
4

Jan 03, 2014

Inspiring high school football story based on true life circumstances

I enjoyed the story "Muckers" a lot but even more so since it was drawn from a true story.

Hatley, Arizona is actually based on the real-life town of Jerome, Arizona. The rough and tumble story of this plucky small team (small in stature and in number) is inspiring and a real treat to sports lovers and to readers that like stories about underdogs.

It is 1950 and the Hatley Muckers are one of the few non-segregated teams in the Inspiring high school football story based on true life circumstances

I enjoyed the story "Muckers" a lot but even more so since it was drawn from a true story.

Hatley, Arizona is actually based on the real-life town of Jerome, Arizona. The rough and tumble story of this plucky small team (small in stature and in number) is inspiring and a real treat to sports lovers and to readers that like stories about underdogs.

It is 1950 and the Hatley Muckers are one of the few non-segregated teams in the state. So this story is not only about football but about racial tension - on the team, in the town and at the state level when the Muckers actually make it to the state championship game (I don't consider that to be a spoiler since it talks about the championship in many blurbs I read).

Family strife, romance, loss, friendship - this book covers a lot of ground. It does drag in a few spots and I never really got the feel that this was a Young Adult book as advertised. It felt much more targeted to an adult audience. I've mentioned in other reviews that just because the main protagonists in a book are young, it doesn't necessarily make that a Young Adult book. There is some adult language sprinkled throughout the story also.

But I do consider this to be a good story - one well worth reading.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. ...more
4

Sep 03, 2014

Red lives in a small Arizona town, one that will soon be just about shut down because the copper has been all been taken from the mine. This is the last year the town's high school will exist, making the final football season extra special. The Muckers don't have money for fancy equipment but they are tenacious, going the extra mile at practice to be the best at their sport. As the Muckers' quarterback, Red feels the weight on his shoulders; can he encourage his teammates to continue fighting Red lives in a small Arizona town, one that will soon be just about shut down because the copper has been all been taken from the mine. This is the last year the town's high school will exist, making the final football season extra special. The Muckers don't have money for fancy equipment but they are tenacious, going the extra mile at practice to be the best at their sport. As the Muckers' quarterback, Red feels the weight on his shoulders; can he encourage his teammates to continue fighting their way into the win column? Add to that the racial tension in town--Red's best friend is Mexican American and Red has feelings for that young man's sister. Mexicans live in a different part of town from the rest of the town residents so hiding from everyone while feeling the bloom of young love is difficult. Red's family is almost in crisis mode--moving away, Red getting ready for college, the entire family still grieving the loss of Red's older brother a few years early at Iwo Jima. Based on the true story. An engaging story that unfortunately might be a tough sell to teens due to the timeframe in which the story is set. ...more
2

Jan 29, 2015

Muckers is a fictionalized version of real events that happened in an Arizona mining community in the 1950s. When the mine was spent, the people had to move and with it the football team would have to go. This is a case where I would have much preferred a nonfiction account of the story than a young adult fictionalized version. The first half of the book lacks a distinct focus. Ostensibly, Muckers is a football/coming of age story, but the politics of the time (race relations, communism, the Muckers is a fictionalized version of real events that happened in an Arizona mining community in the 1950s. When the mine was spent, the people had to move and with it the football team would have to go. This is a case where I would have much preferred a nonfiction account of the story than a young adult fictionalized version. The first half of the book lacks a distinct focus. Ostensibly, Muckers is a football/coming of age story, but the politics of the time (race relations, communism, the Korean War) play just as large. For as much as the author obviously cares about the subject, she never finds a way to make it all work together. It's not until the football team has a true shot of going unbeaten that the story really settles into main character Red O'Sullivan's narrative and becomes almost compelling. There is a feel good atmosphere amongst all the hardships that occur in the book, but never a sense that the hardships can't be overcome.

Note: ARC received via Amazon Vine in exchange for a review. ...more
3

May 16, 2014

Here's another book that won me over with the author's note. Sandra Neil Wallace writes about how she stumbled across the story of the 1951 Jerome High School Muckers' football team in Arizona that won the state championship with only 12 players. These players were of mixed race (whites and Mexicans) at a time when schools were segregated. This was only one of the many obstacles this team faced. I loved learning that Wallace was able to write much of her novel in the actual abandoned high school Here's another book that won me over with the author's note. Sandra Neil Wallace writes about how she stumbled across the story of the 1951 Jerome High School Muckers' football team in Arizona that won the state championship with only 12 players. These players were of mixed race (whites and Mexicans) at a time when schools were segregated. This was only one of the many obstacles this team faced. I loved learning that Wallace was able to write much of her novel in the actual abandoned high school (it closed the year of the state championship). I also loved learning about her research process. As far as the fictionalized account of this true story goes, it's a good one but I'm not sure if it's action packed enough to hold the interest of a casual teen reader. It's a no for Gateway, but I will try to get it in the hands of a boy looking for a book about football because that boy will get so much more than just a football story. ...more
3

Jul 20, 2014

Did anyone out there find this book difficult to read? For all my anticipation of a great premise in a historical fiction sports story, I struggled through it like a true mucker. Why? The author assumes that readers, TEEN readers, know something about Arizona copper mining industry. They don't. A little prologue would be ever so useful to ease the reader into the strange turf of page 1. Furthermore, the sentence structure is choppy and convoluted, like a traffic jam of clauses. I had to re-read Did anyone out there find this book difficult to read? For all my anticipation of a great premise in a historical fiction sports story, I struggled through it like a true mucker. Why? The author assumes that readers, TEEN readers, know something about Arizona copper mining industry. They don't. A little prologue would be ever so useful to ease the reader into the strange turf of page 1. Furthermore, the sentence structure is choppy and convoluted, like a traffic jam of clauses. I had to re-read some sentences to understand. Thank heaven the newspaper clippings at the end of some chapters offer clarity. Finally, I thought that many characters and names came and went without introduction, further confusing readers. Again, the author assumes that we can visualize individuals in the crowd. Unfortunately, methinks this first YA novel needs more work. ...more

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