"From the author of the backlist favorite You Don't Know Me, a dramedy about the agony of victory and the thrill of defeat.
At Jack Logan’s sports-crazy New Jersey high school, the new rule is that all kids must play on a team. So Jack and a ragtag group of anti-athletic friends decide to get even. They are going to start a rebel JV soccer team whose mission is to avoid victory at any cost, setting out to secretly undermine the jock culture of the school. But as the team’s losing formula becomes increasingly successful at attracting fans and attention, Jack and his teammates are winning in ways they never expected—and don’t know how to handle."
There are people who are not so gifted at sports. It isn't a story about how outsiders suddenly become great at sports. It's a story about athletes vs. nerds. So let's dig in!
Jack Logan isn't great at football. Thanks to his high school and peer pressure, he ends up losing a couple of teeth at practice. Everyone is happy about what he has done and suffered through, and I have to remind everyone that this is the school where an old principal decides to do a little football, ends up having a heart attack right in the game, and becomes a martyr of sports for the entire school. Yes, basically the Joan of Arc for sports. The heart attack happens right in front of the whole school. Somehow, the death of the principal only encourages the school to be more "sportsy." (As if that is even possible. Which it is and is taken up to eleven.)
The plot tells the story of Jack and his struggles with his friends, school principal, and his family. He isn't particularly happy with his school (and more importantly, his life). The story is rather straightforward with no twists or turns. In the beginning, the book is humorous and light and hilarious. But as the plot marches forward, it isn't as amusing as before... In fact, the war between the so-called "losers" versus the rest of the school becomes violent and highly, highly unprofessional (on a certain character's end).
Jack, for me, is a hard character/narrator to empathize with. I don't particularly like him in any way, and his voice is grating to my ears. He stands out from the bunch of "losers" of the soccer team. He wants to be part of them yet he is clearly not part of them. (Maybe, I don't connect well with him, because I have never been in a situation like that. Or maybe, I have been too far long from humanity.)
The ending is strange, and I don't like the way it is. It doesn't sit well with me, and though it isn't a loose end, it just feels like a loose end...
Overall, Losers Take All is a fun and amusing book that starts strong at the beginning. Towards the end, I start drifting away and not really paying attention. Don't take me wrong, it's not boring. It's just... alienating to me.
Rating: Two out of Five