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Gut Check

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  11 reviews
A darkly comic high-school drama about brotherhood, body image, concussions, and toxic masculinity from Boston Globe–bestselling adult author of That Book About Harvard.

Wyatt has wanted nothing more than to play football on Grayport's championship-winning team. But not for the fame, glory, or girls. It's his last chance to build a relationship with his older br
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published August 13th 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
Rating details
 ·  44 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Samantha (WLABB)
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, arcs, ya, contemporary
Wyatt had been obscured by his football hero brother's shadow his whole life, but by some odd luck, he finally got the chance to stand alongside him on the field. He saw this as his opportunity to foster a real and genuine relationship with Brett, but as he got to know the man under the hero suit, he realized that, maybe, that connection he wanted, was there all along.

• Pro: This book was so funny! The humor ran the gamut, from nerdy and slapstick to witty and wry. It all worked for
Sep 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Three stars: A football book that explores some tough issues, but it doesn’t follow through. 

Wyatt is used to being invisible. It’s Friday night in Grayport and the entire small town is at the big football game. Instead of being in the stands watching Brett, the star quarterback who happens to be Wyatts brother, Wyatt is below the stands wearing a ridiculous costume to sell rain ponchos. Things change the next year when Wyatt unexpectedly lands a place on the team. What follows is th
With its focus on football and family, this relatable YA novel will attract quite a few readers who often feel that their lives and experiences are missing from most of the books that are published. The narrator, Wyatt Parker, has a distinctive voice, notable for its self-deprecation and lack of self-awareness, and even readers who aren't interested in books in which sports feature strongly will enjoy the book and root for Wyatt to find his place in the world. Wyatt's the younger brother of star ...more
Nina O'Daniels
I adored this book. I laughed a ton, I got a little teary, and my heart broke a few times for this loveable character. Wyatt’s got a big heart and a big body that he’s not always proud of, but he’s also okay with it. Unless you are comparing him to his older brother, football quarterback and town star, Brett. His body fat is non-existent, he’s a town god, and is on track to make his mark until his arm gets severely broken in a game against cross-town rivals. One year later, Brett is back and rea ...more
John Clark
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Yes, there are comedic moments in this story, but there is also so much more-the sense of a hardscrabble town holding on against more adverse situations than anyone not living in one could imagine (Many towns in my part of rural Maine are in quieter, but no less desperate straights). Then, there's the evolution that Wyatt goes through, one involving addressing his self-dislike, fear and feelings of being odd man out in his family. As the story progresses, his thoughts about his brother, his best ...more
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
⭐⭐⭐⭐/5. This is a solid mix of relationships and sports. Wyatt has lived his life in the shadow of his brother Brett, who is the varsity quarterback in a town that lives for football. Grayport is a poor fishing town on the brink of financial disaster when the red tide starts to appear, and the residents live for Friday nights. When Wyatt makes the team and misses a block, causing a hard hit to Brett, he is torn between honoring Brett’s wish that he not tell anyone about his brother’s headaches a ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I hope there is a sequel! It is extremely well written and fun, fast, and comical read - a real page-turner. I'm not that into football, but this book is about so much more. It's a meaningful story about brotherhood and coming-of-age in today's world, and the main character (Wyatt) is well developed, memorable, and lovable. At the same time, it's laugh-out-loud funny (seriously!). It's a brilliant young adult novel but honestly, an entertaining read for adults too. As I said, ...more
Beth Bryden-miller
Great writing, solid relationships built. A little crude due to the realistic high school football player settings. Not sure if I'll get it for middle school since I'd put it at more of a 9th grade book. But I enjoyed the voice and pacing from the writer.
Kate Henry
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was reading the ebook version so I was honestly surprised when I got to the end of the story and it had finished so fast. I liked that it had a shorter story arc and while it covered a lot, it didn't feel as though the storylines were branching off in any way.
Oct 14, 2019 rated it liked it
This was an impulse grab while I was perusing the library recently. It was surprisingly poignant and thought-provoking.
Amanda Cawthon
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I very rarely enjoy books that are focused on sports. It's just not a topic I'm interested in. But Eric Kester's Gut Check had me hooked by the time I started the second chapter. Wyatt comes from a family of local football legends. His father was on the road to great things before an injury his senior year in high school, and his older brother is currently the star quarter back. When Wyatt makes the team, it seems like he finally has his chance to prove his worth to his brother. The dynamic betw ...more
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Sep 05, 2019
Erin Moulton
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Oct 08, 2019
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Aug 21, 2018
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Sep 19, 2019
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Oct 11, 2019
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Aug 31, 2019
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Oct 06, 2019
Janet Wells
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Sep 24, 2019
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Erin Moulton
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Eric Kester was born in Boston and attended Harvard University, where he wrote a column for the undergraduate newspaper, The Crimson. Now a featured writer for, Eric has also contributed to the Boston Globe,, and His writing has been described as a perfect blend of Twain, Salinger, and Sedaris from critics such as his mom. He lives in Boston with his tw ...more
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