THE LAST FOOTBALL PLAYER
2023 AWA Sports Book Of The Year Runner-Up!
A Notable Book on Blue Ink Review!
2023 American Writers Association Sports Book Of The Year Runner-Up
2023 Dragonfly Awards For Science Fiction 2nd Place
2023 Dragonfly Awards For Middle Grade Fiction Honorable Mention
2023 Readers' Favorite Award For Sports Fiction Bronze
2023 Halloween Book Festival Award For Science Fiction Honorable Mention
2023 Cygnus Award Semi-Finalist For Science Fiction (Winners pending)
2023 Rossetti Award Semi-Finalist For Young Adult Fiction - (Winners pending)
2024 Reader Ready Award Honorable Mention
2023 Southern California Book Festival Honorable Mention For Young Adult Fiction
2024 New England Book Festival Runner-Up For Young Adult Fiction
2024 New England Book Festival Honorable Mention For Science Fiction
2024 Indies Today Finalist
After suffering an injury during an 8th football game, Dude, a wide receiver, sees his dream of being a high school star shattered when his father uses his influence to universally ban the game.
At the school’s futuristic Tech Lab, he meets the smart and talented Tomly Newton who helps him assemble a creative team of teenage technological geniuses who hatch a complicated and dangerous plot to save the game.
A brisk tale that will even entertain readers who aren’t football fans.—Kirkus Reviews
In Blossom’s YA SF novel, a young athlete is on a mission to get back on the field—even if it means using robotics.
It’s 2055, and teenager Dudley “Dude” McPherson Jr. loves playing football, but his father, Dudley Sr.—who works for giant tech company Circle Corporation—hates the game. In a world where most people are plugged into virtual reality, Dude’s dad thinks football is outdated and too violent. Still, Dude’s dad comes to see him play his final game of the season, during which the teen is seriously injured and rushed by helicar to a medical center, where he requires weeks of recuperation. Then his father puts together a school trustee committee that bans football and other non-virtual sports. When Dude finally starts high school, he’s unpopular, and his dad makes him attend the school’s Tech Lab as an extracurricular. There, he befriends Tomly Newton, Allison Albright, and Adam Angelou. Everything about the lab is new to Dude; their supervisor of sorts is an AI called “Master.” However, he’s surprised to find that the tech allows him a way to channel his anger into art. Adam soon suggests creating football-playing robots: “It would be like a bot battle on a massive scale. It would be epic!” Initially, Dude’s against it, but his father talks him into it, and the project starts to look promising as the team hashes it out. Will their idea catch on? Over the course of the novel, Blossom delivers a breezy story that flies by, and it features a likable core of main characters. Dude reads a bit younger than the supporting players, but they’re charming throughout. Although the plot isn’t especially complex, its easy-to-follow quality makes for a good quick read; as such, the novel would likely be a fine suggestion for reluctant young readers. The futuristic, high-tech setting is developed well, with many details woven throughout the text. Readers who aren’t well-versed in the SF milieu won’t find it difficult to become engaged with the story.
A brisk tale that will even entertain readers who aren’t football fans.—Kirkus Reviews
5 Stars - Congratulations!
Reviewed by Natalie Soine for Readers’ Favorite
The Last Football Player by John Blossom is set in Silicon Valley. Dudley McPherson Snr’s son “Dude” loves football, but Dudley is an experienced player and aware of the health dangers and injuries associated with the game. Dude plays for the Honeycrisp team, their biggest rival being the Zinkerberg team. Dude is severely injured during their football match, and Dudley convinces the Honeycrisp Parent Action Committee on Rethinking Sports to ban all contact sports. Dude becomes ostracized by his friends and decides his only option is to make the game safe. Tomly Newton, the Center’s student proctor, introduces Duke to the Honeycrisp School Tech Lab, where students can play with uninhibited creativity and innovation, and learn about data analysis and AI influence. Perhaps working in the lab will solve Duke’s challenges and allow him to get back on the field?
Author John Blossom has created a wonderful futuristic story suitable for all young adults. The Last Football Player highlights the challenges of football and similar contact sports. The story also teaches that other options are available to children who are prevented from doing what they love most if they are just introduced to alternatives. I enjoyed the unusual sci-fi characters, events, and locations – John Blossom certainly has a creative imagination. Children are living in the age of technology, which impacts their daily lives. There are some important lessons for parents, children, and teachers when it comes to modern schooling and education. The story is easy to read and follow, which makes for a comfortable reading experience.
5 Stars - Congratulations!
Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite
The Last Football Player: We Knew It Was Coming, Football Is Banned! is a work of fiction in the science fiction, sports fiction, and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is intended for the young adult reading audience and was penned by author John Blossom. In this inventive and immersive work filled with great sci-fi concepts and plenty of action, we meet our protagonist, Dude McPherson, who was a star athlete until his father’s tech developments threatened to put a stop to the game he loves. As this near-future novel explores the dangers of over-protectiveness and over-reliance on technology, Dude and his friends take to the lab to examine the spirit of football and find a balance between traditional sport and the possibilities of technology that lie ahead.
Author John Blossom puts a new, original spin on sports fiction in this exciting teen adventure novel, and I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like these concepts before. Whether it’s the sporting side or the science fiction elements that appeal to you in this tale, the merging of the two brings an accomplished sense of balance to the storyline, and it’s interesting to see traditional and modern issues clash, both on the field and in the laboratory. Dude is a suitable hero for the piece as a star player, but he’s not alone, and I was impressed with the diverse range of other characters who take part in the action and the time and care that the author takes to ensure they are fully developed as real people you can root for. Overall, I’d definitely recommend The Last Football Player to fans of engaging sports fiction with clever concepts and great character development.
5 Stars - Congratulations!
Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers’ Favorite
In John Blossom's The Last Football Player, Dude defends real football against his dad's campaign to ban contact sports. Teaming up with his friend Tomly, they create a bot football team called Sixes to preserve the sport's essence. Despite facing challenges, suspicions about data leaks, and corporate interests, they remain focused on their goal and gain popularity. Veri-News reporters verify their football demonstration videos, and Dude confronts Adam about his dad's involvement with Circle. They incorporate art into the Football Sixes but discover Circle's profit motives. Dude embraces bot football while keeping the spirit of the sport alive. Coach Miller joins the team, and they practice and analyze the bots' behavior. They prepare for a big game against Zinkerberg, but a betrayal could just do them all in.
The Last Football Player by John Blossom is a young adult science fiction novel that is eerily well-timed in the age of artificial intelligence, and goes even further to explore the conflict between tradition and mechanized sports. What would happen if artificial intelligence was the new normal for America's favorite pastime? Through well-crafted characters and a thought-provoking plot, the author raises important questions about the impact of technology on cherished traditions. You know what else it does? It entertains. Blossom's book is a really fun read that engages not only sports enthusiasts and those interested in the evolving dynamics between tradition and innovation, but my teen daughter also thought it was “pretty cool.” And frankly, her approval is really hard to get! Very highly recommended.
5 Stars - Congratulations!
The Last Football Player is a young adult sports drama story by John Blossom. After suffering an injury during a football game, Dude, an eighth-grade wide receiver for Honeycrisp School's football team, sees his dream of playing high school football shattered by his father, who uses his influence to ban the game. Forced to spend his time at the school's Tech Lab, Dude meets Tomly Newton, the center's student proctor, who introduces him to the advanced AI Master and the latest technological tools of the lab. Feeling inspired, Dude and his teenage friends work toward creating a football team of robots, only for the project to be taken over by his father and Circle Corporation. With a championship against their biggest rivals, Dude must now put everything on the line for what might be his last football game ever.
The Last Football Player is a must-read for young adult sports fans and sci-fi lovers. At its core, John Blossom's absorbing sports drama is a coming-of-age story flavored with sci-fi elements. With the recent advancements in AI technology in the real world, the sci-fi elements of the story feel within reach. Add Blossom's realistic integration of futuristic tech into the plot, and you find yourself thoroughly invested in the story's stakes. The expository scenes are organically embedded into the narrative. Each character has distinct strengths and personalities that create compelling interactions and scenes. I especially enjoyed the friendship and camaraderie between Dude, Tomly, Adam, Master, and Allison. Recommended!
Pre-publication review by Pikasho Deka for Readers’ Favorite -April, 2023
Blossom’s thoughtful and engaging near-future novel centers on Dude McPherson, a natural athlete with a single-minded love of football, living in a time with exciting tech breakthroughs like flying “helicars,” eyeglasses with peripheral messaging capabilities, and 3D printers that can instantly produce robots. His father, who works for the tech giant Circle Headquarters, is adamant that playing football puts players’ bodies at risk, and when Dude is minorly injured playing for his school, his dad gets contact sports banned for every kid, demanding Dude take up after-school activities in the school’s tech lab instead—a lab run by an AI called “Master” and funded by Circle.
Despite the cool advancements at the lab, which help keep the pages turning, Dude is reluctant to take up the AI mantle for reasons Blossom (author of The Tunes of Lenore) makes clear and relatable. Dude is still angry that his dad banned real football, his friends are furious and feel like he’s responsible, and the tech lab’s use of bots as avatars to play sports without human contact feels empty. “Don’t you remember the sound of the ball landing in your hands, the smell of the grass?” he asks in one resonant moment. To preserve his love of the game, Dude joins in on a project to make bot football as real as possible—but when the higher-ups at Circle get wind of the project, the potential profit blinds them, and soon Dude and his new lab friends, who only wanted to preserve the joy of traditional football, find themselves in their crosshairs.
Blossom deftly manages the debate about AI versus human experience for a young audience—and probes the boundaries of AI’s creative and emotional capacity, plus the urgent tactile qualities of actual athletic competition. The stakes get high for Dude and the bot football program, but eventually they’re able to meld creative expression, emotional knowledge, and technology into a winning (and safe) combination. Dude’s dilemma—and pressing questions about humanity and machines—will entertain sports lovers and tech whizzes alike.
Takeaway: Compelling sports-centric story of the AI future and human achievement.
Comparable Titles: Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller’s Otherworld, Len Vlahos’s Hard Wired.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-
2023 Frankfurt Book Fair
John Blossom's YA sports drama book "The Last Football Player" Ready to Captivate Readers at the 2023 Frankfurt Book Fair
The award-winning author takes readers on a thrilling journey into the near future with his groundbreaking sports sci-fi novel.
The teen and young adult, science fiction, and football adventure book The Last Football Player by John Blossom will be displayed by the self-publishing and book marketing company ReadersMagnet at the Frankfurt Book Fair (Frankfurter Buchmesse) 2023. The book trade fair will take place on October 18-22, 2023, at the Frankfurt Trade Fair grounds, Ludwig-Erhard-Anlage 1, 60327 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Set in the year 2055, The Last Football Player unravels in a world where football, once a beloved sport, has been banned, and a young 9th-grade wide receiver, Dude McPherson, strives to change the game forever.
Dude's quest for change leads him to an unlikely group of friends within his school's Tech Lab. Here, he teams up with a brilliant group of techie geniuses who share his passion for the game. Together, they embark on an extraordinary journey to make football safe again. Their solution is nothing short of revolutionary, as it promises to transform the world of sports forever.
This tale delves deep into creativity, artificial intelligence, and technology. This gripping narrative challenges the boundaries of innovation and explores the thrilling potential of teamwork in a rapidly evolving world.
Author John Blossom has skillfully woven a narrative that addresses themes of compromise, friendship, and triumph in the face of change. In a society where teenagers grapple with the consequences of technological advancements and societal shifts, The Last Football Player delivers a compelling story that resonates with readers of all ages.
This thought-provoking novel is a must-read for those intrigued by near-future sports psychology, creative problem-solving, the role of technology and artificial intelligence in shaping the world, coaching, and the enduring power of art. The Last Football Player offers a unique and immersive experience that will captivate everyone’s imaginations.
Quote | "Overall, 'The Last Football Player' is charming and captivating, with much to offer a broad range of readers." - Kirkus Reviews.
Book Title | The Last Football Player
Author | John Blossom
Genre | 11+ Teen & Young Adult Football / Science Fiction Adventures
Publisher | Independently published
Published date | July 14, 2023
Mr. Blossom taught middle and high school English and ceramics for many years and found his students to be the most soulful, caring, and intelligent people on the planet. He grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and holds a BA degree in English from Carleton College and an MAT degree from Colorado College.
His quest is to create challenging and insightful novels for teens that reflect an unflinching but optimistic exploration of today’s most timely issues. He presently makes his home on the Big Island of Hawaii and has one grown daughter.
Check out the author’s website for more information.
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2023 Frankfurter Buchmesse
This book display is made possible by ReadersMagnet.
Award Winning! The Tunes of Lenore
A YA Coming of Age Adventure!
J.T. Blossom’s THE TUNES OF LENORE incorporates elements of magical realism in a near-future setting. Its 2026, and protagonist Ella attends an extreme wilderness boarding school, accompanied by her golden retriever, an unusually gifted dog, and her grandfather’s violin, Lenore. It’s a not to be missed and refreshing take on the coming-of-age novel that, along with the delightfully unique story, includes beautiful illustrations that enhance the text. A book written to capture the imagination of both young and older readers alike.
"Hi John, I finished your book the other day, and I was really, really impressed. I found it absolutely captivating. I found Ella very likable, her thoughts about the events felt real and engaging, the dialogue extremely well done, and the storyline compelling. Truly this is very, very well done. I'm glad you shared it with me. If you want any feedback beyond gushing admiration, just let me know." - CS
The hierarchical and exploitive domination of the horse boys over workers, animals, and women sparks thirteen-year-old Michael’s confusion about who he is and what it means to be a man. A sensitive, school-loving student from the suburbs of Milwaukee, Michael is more interested in getting good grades, acting in school plays, and playing tennis than riding rough horses. When his father dumps him off to work at a very gritty riding stable run by wild and unsupervised young men, Michael faces many challenges and has to grow up fast. Set in the late sixties.
Uplifting and sometimes terrifying, "Trespassing" will change for the better the way your heart views the beauty and power of nature.
I believe that any “truth’ is by its very nature simplistic. Belief in a “truth” leads to negative judgments of others who do not share the same belief in that truth. It also leads to tribal-gathering of those who do. Sadly, as many have pointed out, it is human nature to divide ourselves like this and is likely genetic due to the evolutionary necessity of prehistoric humans existing in groups in order to share scarce resources.
The planet’s age of plenty for human life is rapidly coming to an end due to our greed and over-expansion. Sadly, the lessening of exploitable resources to support capitalistic elitism will likely result in increased tribalistic behavior rather than less. (Censorship and nationalism is a symptom of this form of spreading greed, not a cause.)
Our only hope for humanity after nature’s coming reckoning is that the resultant tribes of humans who survive will model themselves after ancient indigenous cultures, who while openly and sometimes savagely tribalistic, at least had mature respect for humanity’s integrative place on the planet. Another plus of the indigenous lifestyle is a general respect for and openness to the “crazy” ideas of artists and visionaries; there is a general understanding among groups that live close to nature that life is a mystery led on multiple planes, not just the simplistic transactional plane where territory and resources are by necessity divvied up contentiously.
We could use a little more of that indigenous, open attitude toward the richness of life beyond materialism right about now. Maybe with increased attention to mysterious and artistic realms, liveable solutions to our dire dilemma can be found.