“It was the first official day of practice and it marked the start of a new team, a new year, a new season, with a new rally cry scribbled madly in the backs of yearbooks and on the rear windows of cars: GOIN’ TO STATE IN EIGHTY-EIGHT.”

This quote from Friday Night Lights shows the philosophy of the musty little city of Odessa, Texas. Readers learn just how important high school football is in west Texas.

Following six star seniors, H.G. Bissinger recounts the true story of Permian High School’s 1988 football season through the eyes of fans, coaches, students, and players. Bissinger also describes Odessa, a town where people are segregated, the economy is plummeting, the murder rate is skyrocketing, and the school standards couldn’t be lower.

But out of the darkness comes a light. Every Friday night the whole town comes to life when 20,000 fans turn out to see the boys play as only they can. In the stands you hear the school motto, “MOJO, MOJO, MOJO,” chanted into the warm night air.

This story is both thrilling and astoundingly passionate as it shows the lives that the teens of Odessa so crave. I love how the author describes the hard work the players and coaches put in every season. Several times the team must reach deep down to pull out a victory despite slim odds.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a great sports drama about how far people will go to make their dreams come true.

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