Million-Dollar Throw

Book review by
Debra Bogart, Common Sense Media
Million-Dollar Throw Book Poster Image
Another Lupica sensitive dad/son sports story.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Facts about the disease retinitis pigmentosa. Many facts about the game of football.

Positive Messages

Strong story of a girl bravely facing a disease that will cause blindness; a family deals well with job losses. Many plotlines about dealing with different kinds of stress and pressure, valuable for teens.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Both the main characters, Nate and Abby, deal very bravely and compassionately with the problems facing them. Nate's parents deal well with job loss and its economic impact on them by working two jobs and keeping their son informed about the problems related to it. Nate's coach, and his hero Tom Brady are also good role models in the book.


One mention of Gatorade.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this book will mostly satisfy sports lovers and football fanatics, it has a strong plot about Nate helping his best friend Abby deal with the onset of blindness. It also deals with how kids and parents both learn to deal with stress and the unavoidable problems that arise in life. For kids whose parents have faced job loss and for everyone else who knows someone that has been impacted by the economy, this book may help them accept the changes that come.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bytreat02 January 20, 2013

I love it!

What a great book! My daughter (6th grade) was reading this for a competition, and I read it too, thinking I'd like it. Wonderful! I enjoyed it very, very... Continue reading
Adult Written byRAHULMANIROX October 16, 2011
Teen, 15 years old Written byStas Vorobets December 1, 2016

Great Sports Book!

I personally enjoyed the book. i like books that involves sports like football. If you enjoy sports i recommend that you try this book out. Very interesting and... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bycricky mate April 26, 2013


it is a very good book you should all read it if you all love football

What's the story?

Thirteen year old Nate is already a star football player when he wins a chance to throw a football through a target and win a million dollars. His dad has lost his job and his family may lose their house. But even worse, his best friend Abby is losing her eyesight to a disease. His team is counting on him to win games, his parents really could use the million dollars, and Abby needs his support. It's hard enough to be a teenager without all those problems. Nate's dad used to be the one he shared everything with, but these days they don't even watch football games together. It looks like even his hero Tom Brady can't help him when Nate gets replaced as quarterback on his own team. But Nate puts the team first, and his parents convince him that just attempting the contest throw will be a once in a lifetime experience.

Is it any good?

This story is all about football, and it's all about heart. Most kids have felt the impact of the economy on their families or their friends, and this realistic picture of parents struggling will help readers cope. It's heavy on the football play by plays, but for sports lovers it will be manna. It's also a good story about a father/son relationship, and the mom's pretty cool too. Abby is almost too good to be true, but her courage sets an example and provides the lesson that football is not the most important thing in the world, even for a jock. Even being a famous quarterback or winning a million dollars is less important than friends and family. No, this story isn't too corny to make a great father/son read aloud.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the concept that it's not whether you win the game, but how you play it. Why is this a good metaphor for life?

  • How many people face a disease like Abby does, retinitis pigmentosis? Was it avoidable? What did you think about the way Abby accepted her disease? Was she hiding how she really felt?

  • What did Nate do that helped Abby the most? Would you have done the same things, or done other things for her?

  • Nate faced a great deal of pressure to make the million-dollar throw and win the money. He showed courage in many different ways. What were some of those ways?

  • What is the hardest part for adults about losing their jobs? How can other people help them?

Book details

  • Author: Mike Lupica
  • Genre: Sports
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Philomel
  • Publication date: November 3, 2009
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 10 - 14
  • Number of pages: 256
  • Last updated: May 21, 2021

Our editors recommend

For kids who love football

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate