Golden Goal (Jamie Johnson) by Dan Freedman

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Golden Goal (Jamie Johnson) by Dan Freedman

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Further adventures of the footballing whizzkid as he begins to break into the big time. Classy book for football fans and reluctant readers with well-chosen vocabulary and a few life lessons amidst the tackles.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 208 Date: May 2009
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 1407102958

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If you like football, this book's for you! Frank Lampard

Jamie could make it right to the top! Jermain Defoe

I really don't need to bother reviewing Golden Goal now, do I? Who could possibly be interested in what I have to say? If I decide to tell you that this book is unadulterated rubbish and you shouldn't let your own Jamie Johnsons anywhere near it, what weight would I carry? Frank likes it. Jermain likes it. Jill Murphy isn't keen. It's a no brainer. Happily, I like it. Your Jamie Johnsons will lap it up and you can rest assured that they will be lapping something with a genuine plot, carefully-chosen and stretching vocabulary, a few common sense homilies, and an appropriate emotional landscape.

In this third in the series, our favourite junior football star has been taken on by the country's biggest club, Foxborough Utd - read Manchester Utd. He's at their academy, and we meet him again on the day of the Youth Cup Final. Jamie, of course, shines, and his silky skills and lightning pace get him noticed by Alex F-, sorry, Brian Robertson, the Foxborough manager. Before he knows it, Jamie is training with the first team squad, and just a few weeks later, he is selected for a game.

But football is football and dramatic conflict is dramatic conflict, and Jamie is about to face a challenge bigger than any he has faced before...

Dan Freedman is doing so very well with these books about Jamie Johnson, teen football whizzkid. He's writing every reader's fantasy, and through Jamie, they really are living the dream. But we can't all be Roy of the Rovers, and Freedman is careful to ground his narrative into much more realistic scenarios. We have the football - do you know what the snake is? I do - and we have the goals and the glory. We also have the rejections. Perhaps more importantly, we also have the kinds of events that every Jamie Johnson reader is going to live through - first girlfriends, growing up, conflict with parents, and deaths in the family.

It's a winning blend, and it's crafted carefully into accessible but intelligent prose with an eye to extending vocabulary and the ability to articulate.

Recommended to all football fans, and in particular the reluctant readers among them.

My thanks to the nice people at Scholastic for sending the book.

Jamie Johnson has his own website.

They can also follow the fortunes of Santiago Munez in Goal! Glory Days by Robert Rigby. Slightly younger boys will enjoy Boys United (Football Academy) by Tom Palmer, while the more sophisticated reader shouldn't miss the superb Exposure by Mal Peet.

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Buy Golden Goal (Jamie Johnson) by Dan Freedman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Golden Goal (Jamie Johnson) by Dan Freedman at


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