Two new YA sports releases from giants in the field

A wide receiver who faces off with a bully quarterback. A tough foster kid athlete determined to find a lost nephew.
“Gutless” and “Loser’s Bracket” are the newest books from Carl Deuker and Chris Crutcher, two juggernauts in the world of YA sports who I’ve idolized for as long as I’ve been reading YA (Crutcher’s Ironman was what got me hooked long ago).

Crutcher’s “Loser’s Bracket”, due out this spring, is oozing with his usual emotion and page-turning tension.
And Crutcher, a long-time family therapist, paints an authentic picture of a family in turmoil. When a family argument breaks out at Annie’s swim meet and her nephew goes missing, Annie might be the only one who can get him back. With help from her friends, her foster brother, and her social service worker, Annie puts the pieces of the puzzle together, determined to find her nephew and finally get him into a safe home.
Even more incentive to check this one out, Crutcher’s website says “Loser’s Bracket” hits the sweet spot for fans of Andrew Smith, Marieke Nijkamp, and Matt de la Peña (another huge favorite of mine and Melody of the Tuesdays).
For more information, go to Yes, he’s the author AND loudmouth. But that’s why his fans love him.

As for Deuker, he’s written about football before. His book, “Gym Candy”, won several awards. But that book was about teen steroid use, while “Gutless”, released in 2017, centers on bullying, finding friends, and courage.
Wide receiver Brock Ripley should be a natural for the varsity team, but he shies away from physical contact. When he gets cut from varsity, he also loses his friendship with star quarterback Hunter Gates, who begins lashing out at not only Brock, but also Brock’s friend, the quiet and smart Richie Fang. But when the bullying goes too far, will Brock be able to face his fears, stop being a bystander, and prove to himself that he is brave enough?
Another early book of Deuker’s also spotlights bullying – Painting the Black. It’s about the bond between a pitcher and catcher, and happens to be my favorite Deuker book of all time.
For more information, go to You’ll see Deuker’s many other YA books about all sorts of sports.

Hope these books score big. What sports books are your favorites?

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