The Greatest Pursuit: A Review of ‘The Perfect Blindside’

“Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable of pursuits becomes tedious.”—Thomas Aquinas

Interest Level:

Grades 7-12

Review and Thoughts

I am often hesitant when it comes to reading Catholic young adult literature, but I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with The Perfect Blindside.  Not only does it tell a good story, but it brings aspects of the faith into the story without beating the reader over the head.  I appreciate the effort by Leslea Wahl to appeal to her young adult readers that way.

The story tells of an Olympic silver-medalist named Jake who moves to a small town in Colorado.  There he tries to keep to himself, which is nearly impossible because of his recent fame.  Everyone seems to be fawning all over him except one girl, Sophie.  Sophie can’t stand Jake and the story begins with her disgust at his self-centered attitude.

As the story progresses, the two are forced in situations that allow them to chat and get to know each other better.  They begin to realize that first appearances were not what they seemed and they begin dating.

An unexpected twist occurs when Jake finds himself in the middle of a drug-smuggling ring and pushes Sophie away to keep her safe.  She goes back to her disgust for the jock and he tries to be heroic on his own for her own good.  Unfortunately, he learns that he needs her and she must come to his aid.

The story will appeal to many young adults for its love story and adventure.  I found it cute that the story mimicked some of the popular parts of Pride and Prejudice (ie. meeting awkwardly, having disgust for each other).  I really appreciated that the love story focused on the two getting to know each other and NOT on a physical relationship like so many young adult pieces do.  It was also refreshing to see strong families and parents who make an effort to keep their kids faithful and going to church.  There was even a pastor who cared enough to find a way to try to coax Jake back to the church.

I’d encourage any young Catholic to read the story for an entertaining read.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Pauline Books & Media.

Possible Concerns

None for this book.

Further Discussion

What are all the possible meanings of the title of the book?

How does Sophie’s courage in asking Jake to come to mass with her impact his trust in her?

Catholic Resources

General Lesson Plans

  • For cross-curricular work, create Geometry lesson plans based on snowboarding.  Use the lessons below, or create your own.
  • Write a character sketch for Jake and Sophie using the five aspects of characterization:
    • appearance
    • speech
    • thoughts
    • what other characters think about them
    • actions
  • Create a plot line and write the major events of the book along the line.  (ie. conflict, rising action, climax, resolution)
  • What is the theme of the novel?  Remember, theme is not a one-word answer.  It is a commentary on human nature.  What does this book teach us about human behavior?
  • Read more about mining in Colorado with the following resources.  Choose one of the websites and evaluate it to determine if it is a valid site for research.  Use this PDF from Univerity of St. Augustine to help with your evaluation.
  • Watch the trailer for the book: