Review by Sam Redfearn, 14
Game Changer By Neal Shusterman
Ashley “Ash” Bowman is just a tackle on Tibbetsville High’s football team. He argues with his brother, hangs out with his friends, and pays less attention than he should in school. His best friend, Leo, is being scouted for football scholarships at USC and Clemson University, and Ash often finds it difficult to understand how Leo can be so adamant that racism persists in America when Leo, an African American, is looking at a much more successful future than Ash, who is white. Another friend of Ash’s, Katie, is in a somewhat toxic relationship with Layton, the quarterback at Tibbetsville High. Katie is unable to talk or interact with other people because of her relationship with Layton, and Ash doesn’t understand how Katie could keep herself in that situation. He doesn’t think anyone he knows is gay because nobody around him acts the way he thinks a gay person would: flamboyant and feminine. But one night, driving home after a football game, he nearly gets run over by a truck, and he realizes the reason he didn’t stop was that he didn’t see the stop sign. The next intersection he gets to, he sees one, but something has gone horribly wrong: it’s blue. As the story goes on, Ash’s life continues to turn further and further sideways, and he questions everything he previously thought logical, from his address to his sexuality to his understanding of race and abusive relationships.
Ash’s journey is one that not only opens his own eyes, but also the eyes of the reader. It brings a new definition to walking a mile in another person’s shoes, but Ash becoming empathetic isn’t the full focus of the book. The book is an adventure story of how Ash navigates the universe and saves the world. Ash has to travel through multiple different versions of his hometown and his life in order to bring himself back to a world where stop signs are red, and he realizes just how ignorant he was being as his journey continues. I would recommend Game Changer to anyone who would enjoy an intrepid dive into the multiverse.
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