Knights of the Hill Country

10:11 AM Posted by Lori Calabrese

Knights of the Hill Country

Author: Tim Tharp
Reading level: Young Adult
Mass Market Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Laurel Leaf; Reprint edition (August 12, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553495135
ISBN-13: 978-0553495133

In a small Oklahoma town, one star linebacker must decide what kind of man he wants to be--both on and off the field.
Welcome to Kennisaw--where Friday night high school football ranks right up there with God and country, and sometimes even comes in first. This year, the Kennisaw Knights are going for their fifth straight undefeated season, and if they succeed, they'll be more than the best high school team in the eastern Oklahoma hill country--they'll be legends.

But the Knights' legacy is a heavy weight to carry for Hampton, linebacker and star of the team. On the field, he's so in control you'd think he was able to stop time. But his life off the field is a different story. His father walked out on him and his mom years ago, and now his mom has a new boyfriend every week. He's drawn to a smart, quirky girl at school--the type a star athlete just isn't supposed to associate with. And meanwhile, his best friend and teammate Blaine--the true friend who first introduced Hampton to football back when he had nothing else--is becoming uncomfortably competitive, and he's demanding Hampton's loyalty even as Hampton thinks he's going too far.

Tharp creates an authentic voice for each of his characters, making you feel as though you're stepping on the field right in the heart of Kennisaw. After all, a winning football team is high on the priority list in Kennisaw. Longstanding rivalries between neighboring towns is a big deal to people in small towns and Tharp has captured that passion and loyalty in a story about a boy whose choices will decide the kind of man he becomes. The story raises powerful questions about sportsmanship, loyalty and the deceptiveness of legends and you'll find yourself rooting for Hampton to find his way.

Tim Tharp lives in Oklahoma, where he teaches at Rose State College. This is his first novel for young adults.

Read an excerpt of the book at Powells.
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