Abby's Reviews > Knights of the Hill Country
Knights of the Hill Country
by Tim Tharp
by Tim Tharp
I read Tim Tharp's latest teen book, The Spectacular Now, in the fall and LOVED it. Sadly, this book is no Spectacular Now. It's narrated by Hampton Green, a teenage football player from the Oklahoma hill country, whose life pretty much consists of playing football, riding around his small town with his best friend Blaine, and pining after Sara, a sharp, intelligent girl who doesn't fit into his social circle (football players & cheerleaders). Written in Oklahoma hills dialect, Hampton's voice felt flat and forced to me, and the book was riddled with so many teen book cliches it veered into self-parody: the "sensitive" football player that none of his buddies truly understand with a best friend who is clearly an asshole that he can't kick to the curb due to misguided loyalty, growing up in a household with absent and neglectful parents, a geeky girl love interest that doesn't suit his social status, and so on. None of it was new, or compelling. You could see each plot development coming from from miles away, and because the characters were so predictable it was hard for the reader to get fully absorbed in their lives. However, I have to give Tharp points for his descriptions of football games -- I hate football but I was riveted to the page by the taut, suspenseful play-by-play. And you can see some of the same themes & issues sprouting here that play out so wonderfully in The Spectacular Now. But really, you don't need to read this one. Go read The Spectacular Now instead if you haven't already.
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