Arlo Brodie is obsessed with football from the moment he puts on his junior varsity uniform in high school. Determined to make varsity by sophomore year, he trains hard and hits harder. By the end of his freshman season, he’s made a name for himself.
But Arlo, or “Starlo” as his teammates taunt him, doesn’t know when enough is enough. Now possessed by the idea of making it to a Division I college and the NFL, he thinks of nothing else. Pushing his girlfriend, his friends, and his family aside, he keeps on training and hitting hard.
Hit Count addresses concussions in contact sports, and Arlo soon racks up several. Although his mother warns him about constant head injuries, Arlo brushes off her concerns, choosing to deal with the after-effects on his own, with little complaint. But when his hit count gets too high, there will be consequences.
Maybe it’s just because I’m female and have never played contact sports, but I had a very difficult time relating to Arlo. I can’t fathom why someone would punish his body relentlessly the way Arlo did, and how easily it became such an obsession for him. But I suspect teen boys would probably enjoy this hard-hitting book.
Reviewer: Alice Berger