Summary: The Million Dollar Race
Grant Falloon is a super fast track runner, so it’s a no brainer when he gets the chance to sign up for the million dollar race organized by Babblemoney. The mega-rich sneaker company wants to give back a million dollars to the winning kids from their international contest. Unfortunately Grant runs into a couple of snags.
First, his best friend (and brother from another mother) Jay is also super fast and competing in the race. He doesn’t want their rivalry to strain their relationship. Then, even worse, he’s disqualified from the race because he doesn’t have a real birth certificate, thanks to his unconventional parents who had him while they were living in a commune off the grid.
Still, with the help of his eccentric younger brother who happens to be a vlogger, Grant decides to come up with a crazy plan that will enable him participate: start his own country. On top of the chaos from their plan, the kids also realize that there is more to the million dollar race than meets the eye.
This is a really unique story. I never knew where it would take me — and that’s something that’s rare in middle grade books. I loved Grant’s relationship with Jay and how their families were brought together despite being so different. Grant’s parents are hilarious and make for some good comic relief throughout the book.
This book is also written in different formats. There’s the basic prose, and then there are interviews (both real and imagined) of Grant, his family, Jay and some other kids, much like those with contestants in reality TV shows. It makes the story livelier and propels the plot forward. A lot of the funny bits are in the interviews.
The climax of this book was pleasantly surprising! I loved the way the author guides readers and the fact that on top of the humor and sports and family, there’s also sprinkling of mystery.
Overall: The Million Dollar Race
The Million Dollar Race is a unique middle grade book about male friendships, sports, unconventional families, and identity. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and the touch of mystery and activism at the end. Grant and his brother also have an interesting dynamic, and we’re seeing more and more kid vloggers in middle grade books, which I quite enjoy. If you love funny books with male protagonists, this is an excellent one to try.
Buy This Book
I received an eARC of this book from the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
More Sports Books
- The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop
- Up for Air by Laurie Morrison
- One Last Shot by John David Anderson
See my full list of middle grade sports books here.
Have you read this book or any others by Matthew Ross Smith? I really liked this book!