Review: Million Dollar Throw

Everyone calls Nate Brodie Brady because he’s a New England quarterback, just like his idol, Tom Brady. And now he’s got a chance to win a million dollars by throwing one pass through a target at halftime in the Patriots; Thanksgiving night game. More than anything, Nate’s family needs the money–his dad’s been downsized, his mom’s working two jobs, and they’re on the verge of losing their house.

The worry is more weight than a 13-year-old can bear, and it’s affecting his playing for his own football team. Suddenly the boy with the golden arm is having trouble completing a pass . . . but can he make the one that really counts?

This is such a good middle-grade book that I think anyone would enjoy, even if you’re not a big football-person. Obviously, the story revolves around a thirteen-year-old football player with an amazing arm and he’s given the opportunity of a lifetime, but there’s a big focus on family and friendship in this book. It’s that, my friends, what makes this story so touching.

Nate is known as the best quarterback of the middle-school league in his state, but that doesn’t get to his head – he just loves football. So when he’s chosen to make the ‘Million Dollar Throw’ at Gillette Stadium on Thanksgiving, his family and friends think it’ll be a piece of cake for him. Only, in the next couple of games that Nate plays, his throwing is off. 

The pressure about the Big Throw gets to Nate, not only because he’s only thirteen and it’ll be on national television, but because his family could really use the money. Their house has been up for sale since his dad lost his job the previous year, and to make ends meet, both Nate’s mom and dad are working two jobs. Then, of course, Nate feels that his problems are trivial compared to his best friend, Abby, who is losing her sight.

What I love about Nate is that he’s completely unselfish and a good teammate. His first thoughts with the possibility of winning a million dollars isn’t like a typical boy his age. He wants to help his parents and his best friend however he can, with or without the money (though the money would be a great help). And when he’s failing at the game he loves and gets benched, he doesn’t complain. He knows his playing has been bad and still finds a way to help his teammates in whatever way he can, even if it means having to be a receiver instead of a quarterback.

Abby is a delight in this story. As Nate’s best friend, she’s there to call him out on his crap when she needs to, but is also his number-one fan. She doesn’t let the fact that she’s going blind get to her, or at least hides it enough so that Nate doesn’t have to worry about her. Their friendship is the cutest in this book and they’re really not afraid to show how much they care for each other. 

Though I read this book when it was first published back in 2009, I feel like it hit me more now as an adult than a measly eighteen-year-old. Between the love Nate has for his family, best friend, and love of football, I completely felt for him having to go through a situation like this where he felt the weight of his family’s future was on his shoulders. I might or might not have shed a few tears near the end.

Again, this a great book about family, friendship, and yes… football. It’s such a good story that I can even get over the fact that Nate’s favorite player is Tom Brady (and team is the Patriots). I highly recommend it and I’m glad I decided to reread this book after going back and forth on it for a while.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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