Knights of the Hill Country By Tim Tharp

Page by Sam Taylor


Author Background

Tim Tharp was born in Henryetta, Oklahoma. He attended Oklahoma State University, majoring in journalism and psychology. He was then selected into the Brown University Graduate Fiction Writing Program. At Brown he began to enjoy teaching others about writing. After graduating from Brown he then found a job teaching at Oklahoma State University. After talking to a group of high schoolers about his first published book, Falling Dark, he decided to direct his focus on writing young adult novels.

Main Characters

Hampton-He is a senior in high school, and the starting linebacker for the football team. He has some trouble with getting his point across and struggles with what to say at certain times. However, when he is on the football field he knows exactly what to do.
Blaine-He is Hampton's best friend and also the starting running back on the football team. Blaine's dream was to play for Oklahoma University and then play in the NFL. Blaine is very cocky about his abilities on the football field, but suffers from a knee injury.
Sarah- A girl Hampton begins to have feelings for, but to the rest of the school all she is is a nerd that Hampton should not be with.



Summary

This story is about Hampton Green, a star linebacker on the football team in a small town in Oklahoma and depicts the life he lives. He lives with his mother after his father left them when he was little. He tends to spend most of his time with his best friend, Blaine. Hampton first met Blaine when he moved in to town after his dad left. They ran into each other when they were attending a ceremony for the star, T-Roy Strong, who played for the Knights and went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys and when a Superbowl. Hampton mainly grew up with Blaine and his family. He considered Mr. Keller to essentially be his own dad. Blaine had taught Hampton the game of football and was always the star. However, in their junior year Blaine had a knee injury against a rival team who was known for playing dirty. After his injury, he had never quite been the same. Most people did not notice Blaine’s knee bothering him, but Hampton could always see it. During their senior year they were striving to be undefeated for five straight seasons in a row. No team had done that since the great T-Roy Strong played. This year was different for both Hampton and Blaine. Hampton really stepped up and made big play after big play, but on the other side of the ball, Blaine just was not the same as he had used to be. Hampton was becoming the star and this was eating away at Blaine. Hampton didn’t care much for the lime light. He would rather Blaine be getting all the glory. Off of the field, Hampton does not always know what to say or do. He begins to start getting feelings for a girl in his history class, Sarah. Blaine, however, claims that she is not the type of girl a football player should be with. Blaine’s girlfriend is the prettiest girl in school and he thinks that Hampton should get a girl like her. Blaine sets Hampton up on a date with one of his girlfriend’s friends. She is nothing but trouble. She ends up sneaking off to talk to a couple of boys from the rival team that hurt Blaine’s knee the year before. Hampton does not care that much because he likes someone else, but Blaine gets really mad. He goes over to the three guys she is talking to and sucker punches the biggest right in the face. Hampton steps in to help Blaine, but by that time the cops are beginning to break up the fight. After this, Hampton is afraid to talk to the girl that he actually likes because of the fight. After a week or two, he musters up the courage to talk to her again. They end up planning to go on a date after the last football game. This last game has a lot of pressure with it because they have a chance to go for five perfect seasons. It is a tight score throughout the game, and ends in an unexpected way. The morning after the game, Hampton wakes up and takes the girl he truly likes on the date he has been waiting for for a long time.

Review

This book starts out with Hampton being your typical high school jock as well as all of his friends. However, as the story continues, Hampton begins to change, becoming different than the reader might expect. He begins to try to find out who he actually is and what he wants to be. Tim Tharp displays this very well throughout the story. Hampton begins to break the mold society has set for him. The story shows the conflict within Hampton and how he begins to work this out. Also, it displays the underlying conflict of his family and what he does not want to end up as. This book was well written to describe the accountability between friends while keeping the element of surprising to create a good book.
My favorite part of the book was not necessarily one exact moment, but the whole idea that on the field he always knew exactly what to do, however off the field he struggled with finding the right words to say and how to act. I felt that it was very easily to relate to this part of the story. While playing the game he could almost freeze time and always end up at the right spot at the right time. However, as soon as he stepped off the field he would always struggle with what to say to people. Most of the time, if Blaine would insult him in some way, then he would just sit there and take it because he didn’t know how to respond back to it. It would always end up thinking of something good to say back to him later that night, which was too late by then. When he was with Sarah he finally began to feel comfortable with talking to her and not worrying about what to say. He was finally able to slow down time off of the field whenever he was with her. This raised his confidence level greatly.
I liked this book a lot. The author uses the story of a football player and twists in with it a story about someone finding out who they are. Tim Tharp did a good job in using Hampton’s life to create a very appealing book to a wide variety of readers. I would recommend this book to anyone out there trying to find a good book to read. This story was well written to show the struggles that Hampton went through within himself as he evolved in becoming the person he truly wants to be.

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Tharp, Tim. "Tim Tharp." Tim Tharp - Young Adult Author. Tim Tharp, 2008. Web. 13 Feb. 2012. <http://www.timtharp.com/bio.html>.