5 out of 5 stars
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What a tearjerker! This book brought out a lot of happy tears, but also a few frustrating moments, which are expected from the story on which this book is based. Matthew Gordon is a high school freshman with Down syndrome. High school is already a very suspenseful time in any teenager’s life, but add in all the hurdles that accompany someone with Down syndrome, and it just gets heartbreaking. This book proved to me how important having the right and supportive people in your life is. Matty had an amazing and a bit unexpected support group, which gave him the confidence to break the limitations placed on someone with Down syndrome. Despite a lot of obstacles, he soared!
Matty lost his father at a very young age due to a drunk driver. This left a huge gap in his life, as his dad was his hero and biggest supporter. His mom did her best for him while also trying to cope with her own grief. When a new teacher and football coach arrived at school, he changed Matty and his mom’s lives in an unexpected way. Matty was constantly bullied at school but always kept quiet as he didn’t want to place even more worry on his mom. One evening, the coach approached Matty’s mom with a proposition for Matty. He wanted him to become the football team’s water boy. Matty wanted to decline, but with encouragement from his mom and the coach, he decided to give it a try. How will this affect Matty and the football team? Matty’s biggest bully is also the quarterback of the team.
This book had so many great aspects and intriguing turns that I just couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know what would happen next or what the results would be when Matty decided to take the plunge. He even started noticing girls, one especially, and although he knew he could crash and burn, he still decided to take a chance. It was so hard to write this review without dropping any spoilers, as there were so many things happening in this book. It was absolutely amazing, suspenseful, and very emotional for me. I loved absolutely everything about this book and couldn’t find anything I disliked. I only found one small error, which also leads me to believe that this book has been professionally edited. I loved going through this journey with Matty and learning what was missing in his life.
I rate 4th & Long: by Garrett M Stapleton 5 out of 5 stars. I wish I could give this book bonus points just for the emotional responses it triggered in me. A support structure in anybody’s life is needed, but especially for someone who has to endure daily struggles and obstacles. Matty proved that by believing in yourself, ignoring the negative, and just doing it, you might just surprise yourself with what could happen. If you have watched and loved the movie The Blind Side, you will absolutely love and enjoy this book! Also, if you are an emotional person like me, be ready for some tears to make their appearance.
I would recommend this book to teenagers and up, but especially to people who experience obstacles in their lives every day. This would also help anyone with Down syndrome believe in their own possibilities. This book really surprised me, and you don’t need to have any knowledge of football to enjoy and understand this book. As bullying is also discussed in this book, this is an excellent example for teenagers in school. Bullies don’t always realize how their words and acts can affect those they bully. This is an inspiring book.
4th & Long:
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