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Game Changer

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  719 ratings  ·  234 reviews
All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it.

Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension—and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own.

The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control as Ash slides into universes where he has everything he’
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 9th 2021 by Quill Tree Books
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  719 ratings  ·  234 reviews

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Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ppb, 2020, ya, sci-fi
2.5 stars

It's understandable that a lot of authors are now grappling with the hot button issues in the world - racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. and want to express their new found feelings in their works. And a lot of these authors haven't exactly written on theses topics much before, like Shusterman. As you can imagine, these earnest works are... a mixed bag.

Game Changer is a well-intentioned novel in which the author tried to address many ills of the current time, but he might have missed, in
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, ebook-copy
Ash is a normal (white privileged) high-school student. He plays for his school American football team on Friday and then goes for burgers with his friends. During one game, something goes incredibly wrong. He is used to taking massive tackles from adversaries, but when he is slumped against the field and bumps his head, he feels something is different. He dismisses the headache and concussion scare as normality, considering the sport. He starts to slowly notice that after this tackle a few thin ...more
Ashley Marie
No idea what this is beyond NEW NEAL SHUSTERMAN
Jenny Baker
Meh...entertaining, but I didn't love it. Nice narration. As far as stories with multiple universes, it's not my favorite. ...more
Celia McMahon
Dec 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you Edelweiss and the publisher for the e-arc. I am deeply delighted to read another one of Neal's books, and forever indebted to this platform for allowing me to read them ahead of their release dates.

I originally marked this book as a DNF, but had to go back to it. LEAVE NO STONE UNTURNED!

I believe part of the low rating was that I recently came off of reading The Toll, and I was in the mindset that I was getting something along those lines, or perhaps something like Unwind. The overall
Ivana - Diary of Difference
Wishlist | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Ko-fi

After reading all the books in the Arc of a Scythe series and loving them all, I couldn’t say no to a new Neal Shusterman book. After all, his writing is magnificent. I am so thankful to Hanna from SparkPoint Studio, for providing me with an e-arc Netgalley copy of Game Changer.


Ash is a football player. And by football player, I mean hand-egg player. He plays rugby. You get my point. Anytime he takes a hit on the field, his lif
Gwendolyn Kensinger
Feb 10, 2021 rated it liked it
updated 2/20/21 After having some more in depth discussions with friends and having access to the author commentary at the back of some editions I am raising my star rating by 1 star. I am now sitting at a 3 star rating and I feel good about that.

*for fans of Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, and Every Day by David Leviathan*

tw/cw: racism (challenged), racial slurs, racist microaggressions (challenged), racial segregation, white supremacy (challenged), assault, sexism (challenged), unjust incarcerati
Dec 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
Thanks to NetGalley and Quill Tree Books for this arc, which I received in exchange for an honest review. I’ll post that full review upon publication.

For now, I will add that while I have thoroughly enjoyed many of Shusterman’s previous works, this one really rubbed me the wrong way. I will get into detail about why in the forthcoming review, but I do not recommend this novel, even to incoming fans of this author.

Updated 2/11/21

I am a huge fan of several of Shusterman's works, and I am constan
Martin Gancarczyk
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was ok
White straight cis dude protagonist explaining PoC, queer people and women how their daily struggles are to fix. Shame, because I really like the author, but this book was so so insensitive with such important topics. I get why publishers might think it’s a good idea to go the »straight white awaking« road, but for me it’s just wrong. I’m just over this white-straight-dude saviour trope stuff.
I’m just so over white characters saving black characters or straight ones saving queer people. Or
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, lgbtqa
When I read the premise for this book, I was super intrigued and excited: a book about the multiverse from the same author who wrote the Arc of a Scythe series? Count. Me. In. Unfortunately, after reading this book, I'm left with a lot of mixed feelings about it.

This book is plagued by the same problems I had with The Toll in that I feel that the author, in his attempts to be progressive, tried to tackle important issues albeit unsuccessfully. Here there was a lot of emphasis put on the topi
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc-s, reviews
I appreciate what Shusterman was trying to do here, and he does do a lot of it well, but there are so many things trying to be addressed at once that it becomes a watered down commentary on the flaws of society (racism, homophobia, sexism etc), instead of really hitting where it hurts.

Game Changer centres upon 17 year old Ash, a football player who gets concussion and suddenly starts to see his life a little differently, then a lot differently, and then discovers he may have more of a say in wha
Mar 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
I love going into Neal shusterman's world and getting a great read out of it. I was so excited to pick this up and it did not disappoint. A from me! ...more
❀ Alex ❀ (The Scribe Owl)
See this review and more at my blog, The Scribe Owl!

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

This was a buddy read with the ever-stellar Emily!

2.5/5 stars

This is actually what I guessed my rating would be going into this read. But it was the new Neal Shusterman book, so I still had to give it a shot! This is a little hard to explain. The concept of the book was well-intentioned and earnest, but it didn't quite hit the mark for me. No matter how sincerely penned Game Cha
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
I will read anything by Neal Shusterman and was so excited to start this. These books are always thought provoking and address important issues, plus the plots are unique and interesting. I did like this, the pacing was great and I stayed engaged the entire time. I think Shusterman tried to talk about too many issues and it was a bit preachy. Some of the things mentioned were abuse, racism, sexism, and homophobia. These are all important and I agreed with the messages, but it was a bit overwhelm ...more
Kat // Novels & Waffles
*eARC provided by the publisher for my honest review.*

For most people, Game Changer will be like a game of archery – it'll either hit home or miss the target completely. But whether or not the sum of its parts works for you, at the end of the day this book is one man's honest attempt to use his platform and his voice to call for change. It is a well-intentioned, earnest plea for a universe that's a little kinder, a little more empathetic, and a little more accepting. And while I'm not 100% sure
Joan He
Oct 23, 2020 marked it as to-read
the cover is everything and if anyone can get me to read about football, it's neal shusterman ...more
Veronica Foster
Feb 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
In Game Changer, Neal Shusterman takes on a topic that I wish more YA novels would tackle (football pun intended): privilege, and specifically the process that many privileged folks go through of discovering that 1. the world is not just and 2. it's unjust in your favor. Ash is a white, straight, male, able-bodied football player, but a quirk in the space-time continuum soon introduces him to the lived experience of identities he'd only ever observed from a distance. As he spins through parallel ...more
Jenny Ashby
Dec 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
I hate to give only two stars to a Shusterman book as he is one of my favorite authors, but the more I think about this one the more disgruntled I'm feeling about it. When describing his books to others I have said for a long time that I feel like the books fall into two categories: really well written and thoughtful OR not as deep/kinda cheesy(?) stories that are just fun to read. The latter description mostly applies to his earlier work such as Red Rider's Hood or Eyes of Kid Midas. As I start ...more
John Moore
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*disclaimer: I work for Neal’s publisher*
This book is something else. Not at all what I expected from the blurb but it is classic Neal Shusterman Sci-Fi excellence with more heart than I’ve seen in his books before. It tackles race, sexuality, sexism, all in a wonderfully mad parallel universe jumping meets American Football mash up. You’re all going to love it in February next year.
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

Game Changer is, as every Neal Shusterman novel is, quite the thought provoking story. It features Ash, a young man who has a pretty solid life. He's on the football team, has a lot of friends, he's a straight, cis, white guy from a middle class family. Basically, things are going fairly smoothly for Ash. Until, that is, he finds himself with a concussion and a slightly altered universe.
Feb 04, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: #NealShusterman is one of my favorite authors of all time, so I have been looking forward to #GameChanger, and it did NOT disappoint. The book follows Ash, a high school football player who--every time he gets hit--finds himself transported into other universe or timeline where there is always something different from the one before. As this is an advanced release, I will not give away any spoilers. However, like all Shusterman novels, and what makes him so great, is that he tak ...more
Michelle (MichelleReadsYA)
Dnf 72% in. I listened to this for so long because I really thought it had to get better but it never did.
My usual reading zones are international and literary fiction but YA dystopian fiction is my guilty secret. I've read the first three of Neal Shusterman's Unwind series and all of his Arc of the Scythe series, so I was first in line with my hand up shouting "Me, me, me" when Game Changer was on offer.

Game Changer is a diversion from Shusterman's dystopian worlds - although it does, perhaps, offer the absurd and unpleasant aspects of the world around us today, holding them up for greater examina
Jan 01, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-releases
New Neal Shusterman?!?

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I have no idea what this is about but I already know I'm going to love it.
Lisa Wolf
Feb 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Ash Bowman is a straight, white, 17-year-old male, a lineman on the high school football team, son of working class parents, a good student, and a good friend. He considers himself pretty woke, not particularly a social activist, but sensitive and caring, and certainly not making the world any worse.

As the book starts, in the middle of a high school football game during a particular hard tackle, Ash has a weird sensation, but it’s over in a moment. Probably just the impact from the tackle, nothi
Karen Barber
Dec 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Game Changer will, I think, be one of those books that will polarise opinion. I’m grateful to NetGalley for granting me access to it prior to publication, and I think I would recommend it to people, but there are issues that make me wonder if this was quite the right way to get the intended result.
Our story focuses on Ash, a fairly typical privileged white American boy. He plays football. He has relatively open relationships with his friends and family, but there’s a sense of things being held b
Bruna Oliveira
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

Ash - short for Ashley, yes, his family were huge Gone with the wind fans - is a high school student and football player in the school team. After he was hit in the field, he starts to notice his reality is a bit different from what he's used to. Then he realizes he's jumping to different dimensions.

First of all, I have to say I really appreciated the author's note in the beginning of the book saying how imp
Feb 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
Game Changer pleasantly surprised me! I wasn't sure what to expect as Neal's books tend to be a little hit and miss for me. I really enjoyed Scythe, but Unwind...not so much. Game Changer was compulsively readable, and held my attention from start to finish. It's actually the one book recently where I have wanted to just read, rather than getting distracted by absolutely anything else.

Partially, my interest was piqued because I've always had a fascination with the idea of parallel dimensions an
Jenny (Bookbookowl)
Thank you to Walker Books for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review!

Ash is just an every day guy. Hanging out with his mates, being annoyed by his brother and playing high school football. That is until one tackle seems to shift the world sideways. Suddenly there are subtle, but important, differences that everyone else takes for granted. He’s sure stop signs were always red, so why are they now blue? And why does everyone insist they’ve always been that way? As
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Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movi ...more

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