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Cracking the Bell

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  90 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Isaiah loves football. In fact, football saved Isaiahs life, giving him structure and discipline after his sisters death tore his family apart. Now, nothing makes Isaiah happier than setting up the perfect defense and delivering a big hit. But when Isaiah gets knocked out cold on the field, he learns theres a lot more to lose than football.

While recovering from another
ebook, 256 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by Katherine Tegen Books
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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Matthew Landis
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This isn't a book about football--not really. It's about surviving apocalyptic loss and doing so without being miserable--or in Isaiah's case, falling into nihilistic criminality or militant (and potentially dangerous) adherence to the structural safety of football.

Precision subtlety is a hallmark of Herbach's writing (Stupid Fast series, Hooper), and has helped me enjoy "the sports book" again. Geoff also just gets real life authenticity. His characters are always flawed, likeably unlikable,
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love YA sports novels and Geoff Herbach knows exactly how to write one that is on-trend, poignant, realistic, gritty and doesnt pull its punches. And thats exactly what I got from Cracking The Bell.

Isaiah lives for football. Its what keeps him busy and away from the temptations that come with down time. It saved him when he fell into bad habits and did things he wishes he could forget. It helps keep what remains of his broken family together. It keeps him from mourning too deeply his sister.
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Many thanks to EdelweissPlus and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this title for review. All opinions are my own.

I was so very excited to see that Herbach had another sports-themed book coming out after I fell in love with his novel Hooper last year. This book tackles football and football-related head injuries, while also dealing with a family's grief process, the sadness of not knowing what to do next, and the pain that comes when you have to realize you can no longer continue
Gary Anderson
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Although Geoff Herbachs young-adult novels are consistently satisfying, his new book Cracking the Bell digs a little deeper and delivers a story as important as it is engaging.

High school senior Isiah is moving on from his rough life of a few years ago. Isaiahs family disintegrated when his sister and grandfather both died violently, one from a drunk driver and one as a murder victim. Isaiah turned in all the wrong directions trying to find myself, and his girlfriend Grace was just as messed up
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So I can say that sports books aren't normally my thing. And to be honest, I think I've had a bit of snobbery thinking that sports books were less then. Somehow written about sports to get non-readers interested in a story just because they already like the sport. I regret this outlook. Cracking the Bell had me hooked from the very beginning with the story of Isaiah and his love for football, family, and writing. Isaiah's story is bigger than football, but football is also at the center of this ...more
Ms. Yingling
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central

Isaiah's family has struggled after the death of his sister in a car accident that wasn't her fault. The parents divorced, and Isaiah got in so much trouble that he had to spend some time institutionalized and was finally given the choice by his father-- either play football, or stay in the institution until he graduated. Football has been good for Isaiah. It has given him structure, a support group, and a long term goal of playing at college. When his
Sally Kruger
After Isaiah's sister Hannah was killed by a drunk driver, Isaiah fell apart. He had worshipped his older sister, and her loss ruined his parents' marriage and sent him barreling in the wrong direction. His delinquent behavior ended in his father offering him a choice - join the football team or return to the juvenile detention facility that hadn't worked for him the first time. Isaiah chose football, and his life turned around.

Now a senior and about to turn eighteen, Isaiah is a star player,
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Note: I received an advance copy of the book from the author.

I was finishing this book as news broke about Andrew Luck's sudden retirement from the NFL, and I couldn't help but see the connections. Isaiah in Cracking the Bell isn't a multimillionaire with a degree from Stanfordhe's a high school senior with a history of concussions in his life. Literal concussions from hitting and being hit in football. Figurative concussions from the deaths of family members and the unresolved grief that
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Geoff Herbach is one of my new favorite writers for YA---I came to the party late perhaps. His newest release is about a boy, Isaiah, who is a senior in high school. His family experienced a terrible tragedy, the death of his sister Hannah, and they are broken. After her death Isaiah spiraled downward during middle school and ended up in a boy's home for a while; however, football changed everything. It added structure and team to his life, and he was even being courted by Cornell University ...more
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC of this book, and Im so glad I did. Generally, sports books are not my first choice, but having read Herbachs Stupid Fast series, I knew the storyline would appeal to me anyway. As usual, his writing did not disappoint. The main character Isaiah has had a rough time following the loss of his sister and his parents subsequent divorce. He makes very bad choices and is on the verge of losing everything when he joins the team. Football is what saves him, but after a particularly ...more
M. Velasco
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
CRACKING THE BELL is hard-hitting and relentless.

Football has given Isaiah a reason to stay out of trouble, an outlet for his intensity, and a focus to reach his potential. But football also breaks him. Isaiah is knocked out after making a big hit. The resulting concussion threatens more than his playing time. He may have to give up the game, because he could die from second-impact syndrome. Already emotionally scarred from the death of his sister and the divorce of his parents, Isaiah begins to
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-fiction
Isaiah Sadler knows things aren't right. They haven't been since Hannah died. They haven't been since his bell got rung.

This book does a great jump delving into the topic of concussions in football, particularly at the high-school level, and just how impactful the game of football can be to a young man.

There's a lot to unpack with family dynamics in this book, and how tragedy can alter more than just our emotions.

I'd say Cracking the Bell should be a book a lot of high school athletes read,
Cathy Castelli
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been a fan ever since Stupid Fast, and Cracking the Bell is another legendary addition to YA Sports. I know that the mark of a good book for me, is when I get so caught up in the story that I forget it's not real. In the novel, Isaiah has a green notebook where he writes his story. In the ARC I read, these stories are in italics. I found myself thinking, "Wow, that Isaiah is a good writer!" No, that Geoff Herbach is a great writer, and he totally had me gripped.

I'm thirilled for another YA
Carla A
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
I am regularly surprised when I enjoy a book that has a sport that I could care less about as part of the premise. I would have rated this 5 stars but the military/cop love at the end was off putting for me. I get it but doesn't fit with my ideology and frankly how the police behave toward the youth in my neighborhood.
I picked this up because some of our middle school readers asked for sports books. It's a compelling, quick read with some good game details. But the bulk of the story is about the main character dealing with the fallout of family tragedy and past decisions. Not my cup of tea, but I think our teens will be into it.
Hoover Public Library Kids and Teens
A troubled Wisconsin teenager finds solid ground and grievous injury alike on the gridiron.
Taylor Bivens
Feb 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
it was a great and motivational book.
Oct 19, 2019 marked it as to-read
Book talker: NOT A FOOTBALL STORY :)
Susan Parodi
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great YA book for lovers or haters of football
Staci Vought
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
I was really excited for this - it sounded promising and early reviews were strong. It ended up being okay..but the writing style had some odd qualities to it and it was hard to relate to the characters. This was barely a sports book - much more emphasis on dealing with loss, toxic relationships, etc. With about 25 pages left, I felt like there was no hope for these characters and I had no idea how the book was going to come to any sort of conclusion. The book did conclude - but much too ...more
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I am the author of the YA title, Stupid Fast (June 2011 from Sourcebooks Fire). I also wrote The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, a Novel from Three Rivers Press. When I'm not writing books, I'm writing for Radio Happy Hour or developing ridiculous musical bits.

When I'm not writing, I'm teaching writing at Minnesota State, Mankato, which means I write a lot of comments about writing on student

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