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3.63  ·  Rating details ·  153 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
Former ESPN sportscaster Sandra Neil Wallace makes her young adult debut with a historical fiction novel that School Library Journal recommends to fans of Friday Night Lights in a starred review.
Felix “Red” O’Sullivan’s world is crumbling around him: the mine that employs most of town is on the brink of closing, threatening to shutter the entire town and his high school
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published September 27th 2013)
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Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog
It's a funny thing about our town.
We're used to getting cut up. And the one thing we know how to do is fight. And if I don't fight on that field this afternoon and win, we'll be forgotten. The memory of Hatley gone for good, too, with Coach and Maw and Bobby along with it. And that's not how it's going to be.

There are two things that matter to the town of Hatley, Arizona: mining and football. And that's about it. In 1950, when the copper veins—the town's largest source of labor—begin to dry up a
Michael Holka
Oct 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I could not put down Muckers br Sandra Neil Wallance. The book was realistic fiction. It was about a small mining football team that had not won a championship since reds brother died in a war. While the football teams are playing each other the war against Korea is going on. The main character known as red is a nice intelligent guy who cares about almost every one the one person he does not care for is his dad. Reds dad is a miner who is rude to red. Reds mom also named Maw is in a hospital sh ...more
Lonna Pierce
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This YA novel, set in 1950, is based on the true story of a dying Arizona mining town and their last chance football team before the high school closes for good. The grit and guts and bravery of these players are evident on every page, despite heartbreaking family situations, rampant prejudice against Mexicans, and the hellish life of the miners. The team's football field is on slag, not grass, and borders on an open pit. Yet, Red, Cruz, Rabbit, and all the memorable characters give it everythin ...more
Ms. Yingling
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
The vintage feel of this was brilliant. Sadly, it was just too young adult for my middle school students. I'd love it if Ms. Wallace would join her husband in writing for middle grade!
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone above age 12!
I was notified that I’d one the giveaway for a copy of Muckers a couple of weeks ago, and less than two weeks later did I receive it in the mail. So special thanks to the author, Sandra Neil Wallace, for fast shipment and hosting the giveaway in the first place!
To be honest, when I first heard I’d won a copy of this book, I was a little skeptical. Sure, I liked football, and I didn’t mind reading from a boy’s point of view, but this 1950’s-set, racism-confronting book wasn’t the type of novel I
Alejandro Arnaiz
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it
I wonder why Felix doubts himself so much, he always goes with what others say about him, everyone si relying on him to have a successful season for the Muckers but if all he does is doubt then nothing will happen.
Andrea at Reading Lark
Oct 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Review Posted on Reading Lark 11/7/13:

I was intrigued by the novel due to its historical roots and the focus on football. I have always been a huge football fan; Autumn is my favorite season as a result. I love the cooler temperatures and watching the college ball on Saturday and pro ball on Monday, Thursday, and Sunday. Football is one of those things that just makes my heart happy.

Not only was I impressed by the amount of historical research that domin
Jack c
Feb 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: form-1
Sandra Wallace’s message in the book Muckers is to never lose hope and to never stop fighting for what you believe in. I feel that Wallace thinks of life as a bounce back in lacrosse. In life one gets thrown and flung around like a lacrosse ball, but they should never stop trying to bounce back to the steady reliable stick. This story takes place in a town called Hatley during 1950. This is a poor mining town in Arizona. Their mine is about to close, and many families will have to move. The litt ...more
Nov 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Over all I think the book is very good and it has a good story plot. What makes me really like the book is that it's about football and football is my favorite sport and this book is all about it. What makes this book so good is that it's about a boy name Felix O'sullivan and he plays football and their team hasn't been good and there town isn't doing so good so they want to try and make it better and up and running again. So in order to make their small town better they want to win the state ch ...more
Nov 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
For Hatley, Arizona, the mine is life but to Red O'Sullivan it seems it's going to close any day. In fact, their school is already set to shut its doors permanently in the coming months, with all of the students pretty guaranteed to be sent to their rival school in Cottonville. The only thing second to the mine in Hatley is football. The Hatley Muckers have gone to the state championship just twice - once with Red's own brother leading them - and now it's Red's turn. The odds are against them in ...more
Oct 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The novel The Mucker's by Sandra Neil Wallace is a well-written nonfiction book that mainly focuses on the sport of football. If you are a football fan you would love this book a lot. The novel is about the struggle of the football team to try and win the state championship and save their hometown. In the Mucker's, the main character Felix "Red" O'Sullivan, is the last final hope of the small town of Hatley, Arizona. Since he is the quarterback of the football team, it is his responsibility to ...more
Carrie Ardoin
Nov 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: i-own-this, tour
I went into this book thinking it was going to be mostly about football, but in reality the football is only a vehicle for the other stories the author wants to tell.

The main character of this story is Red O'Sullivan, who is having a hard time in life. Between a father who barely cares if he's there or not, a mother who's gone crazy, and trying to live up to the reputation of his dead older brother, it's a wonder Red is keeping himself together at all. But with the support of his best friend, C
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Red is the quarterback of the last Muckers football team. His little town is crumbling around him. He will be one of the final members to graduate from his high school and the last quarterback of the high school football team. Along with the town pretty much shutting down because of loss of jobs and people suffering from the losses from the war, Red has to deal with a father that has become very distant since the death of his older brother in the war. In order to win his father's attenti
Trenton Culler
Muckers is based on the true story of the 1950 Jerome Muckers football team and the championship season that rallied an Arizona town together and turned tragedy into a triumph.
The novel goes deep into the rocky terrain of a racially-divided town and a team whose world is suddenly upended, widening the rift between Anglos and Mexican Americans forced to choose between cohesion or rebellion.
Red O’Sullivan’s world is crumbling around him; the mine that employs most of town is on the brink of clos
SLJ Reviews 2013 December

Gr 8 Up—Based on the true story of a 1950 scrappy high school football team out of Jerome, Arizona, this novel is about an underdog victory. Felix "Red" O'Sullivan and his friends have grown up in the copper-mining town of Hatley, but the ore has depleted over the years. The town has become so small that Hatley High will be closing at the end of the year and students will begin attending school with their Cottonville rivals. The Muckers football team is the smallest in t
Sterling Southerland
Muckers is a story about a young teen football player that encounters many challenges through his football career. Felix O’Sullivan (Red) is under a lot of pressure due to his brother dying in the war. After his brother died, Red had problems following his brother’s footsteps. As his whole town, including his high school, was on the brink of destruction, they had once last option. The Muckers had to win the State Championship. The only way they could do that was by going undefeated, which meant ...more
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Inspiring high school football story based on true life circumstances

I enjoyed the story "Muckers" a lot but even more so since it was drawn from a true story.

Hatley, Arizona is actually based on the real-life town of Jerome, Arizona. The rough and tumble story of this plucky small team (small in stature and in number) is inspiring and a real treat to sports lovers and to readers that like stories about underdogs.

It is 1950 and the Hatley Muckers are one of the few non-segregated teams in the st
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Red lives in a small Arizona town, one that will soon be just about shut down because the copper has been all been taken from the mine. This is the last year the town's high school will exist, making the final football season extra special. The Muckers don't have money for fancy equipment but they are tenacious, going the extra mile at practice to be the best at their sport. As the Muckers' quarterback, Red feels the weight on his shoulders; can he encourage his teammates to continue fighting th ...more
Pamela (Lavish Bookshelf)
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I liked Muckers precisely because it is not just a story about football and the elusive big win. Wallace has brought the 1950s to life within the fictional town of Hatley, Arizona. The community of Hatley is a perfect way to showcase concerns and issues facing all of America in the early 1950s. One terrific way that Wallace has done this is by including the small-town newspaper headlines every few chapters or so. Sure, the headlines focus on the every evolving football story, but the newspaper a ...more
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Muckers is a fictionalized version of real events that happened in an Arizona mining community in the 1950s. When the mine was spent, the people had to move and with it the football team would have to go. This is a case where I would have much preferred a nonfiction account of the story than a young adult fictionalized version. The first half of the book lacks a distinct focus. Ostensibly, Muckers is a football/coming of age story, but the politics of the time (race relations, communism, the Kor ...more
Shannon Grieshaber
Here's another book that won me over with the author's note. Sandra Neil Wallace writes about how she stumbled across the story of the 1951 Jerome High School Muckers' football team in Arizona that won the state championship with only 12 players. These players were of mixed race (whites and Mexicans) at a time when schools were segregated. This was only one of the many obstacles this team faced. I loved learning that Wallace was able to write much of her novel in the actual abandoned high school ...more
Jul 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Did anyone out there find this book difficult to read? For all my anticipation of a great premise in a historical fiction sports story, I struggled through it like a true mucker. Why? The author assumes that readers, TEEN readers, know something about Arizona copper mining industry. They don't. A little prologue would be ever so useful to ease the reader into the strange turf of page 1. Furthermore, the sentence structure is choppy and convoluted, like a traffic jam of clauses. I had to re-read ...more
Matt Yates
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The book Muckers is a very interesting book. At first it didn't really catch my attention and i wasn't interested at all, especially with how the teenagers were acting and what they were saying. But then that changed towards the the middle of the book, this is when it really started to get my attention and i just could wait to read more. Teenager Red O'Sullaven was the star quarterback for Hatley high school and it was basically his journey in a hard rough mining town as a Hatley high school Muc ...more
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I honestly didn't think I would like this book. It's historical fiction and sports...two genres not very high on my list. But, oh my goodness, it's much more than that. You've got racial injustice in the 50's, fear of communism, financial fallout as a result of World War II, loss of a sibling during World War II, shipping kids out into the Korean Conflict, copper mining in the west, Catholic priests gone amok, mental health issues, etc. All of these things are packed into 288 pages. Yes, the foo ...more
Feb 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: High School readers
Recommended to Marilyn by: I met the author at NCTE book exhibits
Shelves: challenge-14
The story takes place in the 50's in an Arizona mining town. The mine is about to be closed leaving residents without a job. The issue at hand for the town and its young people is winning the high school football championship for the last time. Korean conflict, Communism scares, and racism play roles. The story is difficult to get into as I do not have the background knowledge about the Arizona mining town. The read improves as you continue with great scenes on trying to build a football team wi ...more
Jason Griffith
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
This is an enjoyable historical fiction sports read about an underdog team who faces long odds to go all the way. What's most remarkable about Muckers, however, is the amount of research Sandra Neil Wallace conducted on the true account which inspired its story. While the plot and specific storylines and relationships of the characters may be fiction, the true history of the mining town of Jerome, Arizona, the shifting economic landscape as the copper dried up, the challenges of being an integra ...more
Kathy Wiechman
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Muckers is a story about an amazing rag-tag high school football team, but it's not a football story. It's a story about a young athlete struggling through the muck that life dishes out, a family that barely exists anymore, a town that's disintegrating, and the fervor of friends who want to win and who depend on him to make it happen. It's set in 1950, on the heels of one war and on the precipice of another, which makes it relatable to today's readers. And it's inspired by a very real football t ...more
Oct 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
There's nothing I like more than a good underdog story and this one, based on a true story, was terrific. The sports is great but Wallace does so much more, giving us a front-row seat on a critical time in a small mining town. The mine is played out, the school is closing and this is the last season for the Muckers. There is a well-wrought portrait of key social factors affecting the area and the country including segregation, the Korean War, and the McCarthyism. I really liked the structure tha ...more
Justin Young
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book was a very good book. It talked about the hardships of the mining town of Hatley, AZ.
Muckers are workers that shovel the muck out the mines. The story revolves around football and mining.

Students at Hatley High School have to work and form a football team. The work together to try and get to the the state championship. They eventually make it to States and win. The game was a mirical game against Phoenix United. Throughout the book the family's face the mine going down hill and war in K
Daniyal Chowdhury
Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
I would consider myself to be the furthest thing from an avid reader at this point, but let's just say that even youthful eyes can tell a former ESPN sportscaster wrote this and not a well-credited author. There's inspiration in the story for sure, but it was just so hard to feel an uplifting movement in my heart with regards to the story due to the other imperfections there. Take out the author's poor attempts at humor and bland intimacy between characters in the play and you would have a short ...more
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Sandra Neil Wallace had a lengthy career as a news anchor and ESPN sportscaster. She succeeded in breaking a gender barrier by becoming the first female to anchor an NHL broadcast. Her books have been named to state and national awards lists, including Bank Street College’s Best Children’s Book of the Year, ALA-YALSA Quick Picks, and Booklist’s Top 10 Sports Books for Youth. She lives in New Hamps ...more
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