Raiders Night by Robert Lipsyte

Bibliographic information:
Raiders Night. Robert Lipsyte. Harper Teen, 2007. $6.99. 256p. ISBN-13:  978-0060599485.
Summary: Matt is one of the captains for the Nearmont High School varsity football team. He is in his senior year and he is ready to move out and go to college. Getting a sports scholarship is of is highest priority until broken ties lend him a different route that he did not before see. When a new kid, Chris, is transferred to join the varsity football team, Matt’s fellow captain feels like he is being replaced and thinks it is a good idea to teach Chris a lesson so that he knows his place. However, things are take too far and it creates a rift among teammates that they may not be able to mend, and Matt is stuck in the middle.
Reading level and interest level: RL: Grade 9 and up IL: Grades 9-12
Review: This gripping story will leave a lasting effect on the reader. Told through the view-point of Matt we are put on the back-burner and made to watch the disaster unfold. Filled with an emotional roller coaster the reader wants to reach into the pages and shake the main character out of his stupor to get the results we are looking for, but never get. Throughout the book Matt is indifferent to what is going on around him, but by the end of the novel Matt goes through a transformation and we are looking at a new character who is more likeable. Lipsyte leaves an open ending that promises a hopeful outcome where the reader is left imagining what will be done to remedy the situation. From beginning to end you are kept wondering, “what will happen next?”
Readers’ annotation: When captains go against each and team members split apart, what is Matt going to do to bring them all together again?
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book has bullying, violence, and negligence by both parents and teachers. Children reading this book will give the reader some insight into a football players mind and give them the notion that not all players are the same.
Issues present: There is bullying, violence in the form of a school shooting, gun use, and abusive or neglectful parents and teachers. All of these things might make a parent or teacher not want their children to read this book, but it could be useful to somebody who it being bullied. They might read this book and think, “Oh, I’m not the only one being bullied.” They will be able to take the other kids situation and deduce that how Gray handled the situation was not the best way to go about it.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Matt our main character.
Pg. 81: from beginning and end on second sentence on pg 82. – describes main character.
Pg. 183: “Chris walked out of the shower room…” to “I’m going to kill you.” – catch their attention, climatic part.
Genre or subject: Realistic fiction, bullying, sports (football)
Readalikes: Leverage by Cohen. Other books by Lipsyte.
Author’s website:
Awards and lists: Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee (2009)
Links to reviews: Publisher’s Weekly: ; Booklist has a review if you have an account with them, or you can read their review on amazon at
Why I chose it: I wouldn’t normally pick of a book about sports mainly because I am not a huge fan of sports, but I thought this book sounded interesting and the idea of one of the captains of a football team had opposing view-points with the other captain caught my attention. When you break a team up nothing good can come of it and I was curious to find out how it all turned out in the end.

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