Title: The Quarterback Secret
Author: Ruth Sims
Publisher: Cheyenne Publishing
Characters: Ben Reis and the “Pride Pack”
Sub-Genre: YA Mystery
Set in the mid-1990s, The Pride Pack is a group of teenagers who band together to help each other out in a time before teens were equipped with cell phones, when homework was done in a notebook rather than on a laptop, and when gay-straight alliances were nothing but a pipe dream.
Athletics remain largely homophobic environments. How will his teammates react if 16-year-old baseball pitching star Ben Reis admits he is gay? And so he mostly lies about his sexuality even when he is with the Pride Pack at the local gay and lesbian community center. All that may change however as the result of his falling through a sinkhole into an unknown cavern and learning THE QUARTERBACK’S SECRET…
The Quarterback’s Secret is the third book of the Ruth Sims’ Pride Pack series, although it is the only book of the series I’ve read so far. It reads fine as a stand-alone, though I’m now certain I will go back and read the preceding two stories.
Ben Reis is the protagonist in this particular story, and he is a closeted gay teenager. He is the star pitcher of his high school baseball team and harbors a secret crush on his best friend Andy. Both boys attend the school’s gay support group because they “want to support their gay friends”, but neither of them admit to being gay themselves.
While Ben and Andy are skipping class one afternoon, Ben falls into a sinkhole and ends up stranded in a cave. When the Pride Pack comes to rescue him, they discover the skeletal remains of missing person from thirty years prior. A mystery ensues.
I enjoyed the story, and it had a bit of a Scooby-Doo feel to me. It was not intense and nail-biting, but it had a sinister villain (a bit exaggerated), and the team of teen detectives were a bit quirky. Some of the details within the story were a bit of a stretch for me, but overall it was an enjoyable read with a great message.
I applaud Sims for this effort. I think it’s awesome that she is mainstreaming her gay characters in a manner that does not make an issue of their sexual orientation. I think this sort of book would be a welcome read to kids of any orientation. As an adult, I definitely liked it. Great job, Ruth… I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Reviewed By: Jeff