Million Dollar Throw Summary & Study Guide

Mike Lupica

Million Dollar Throw

  • 42-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 34 chapter summaries and 5 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by an English instructor with an MFA in Creative Writing
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Million Dollar Throw Summary & Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 42-page guide for “Million Dollar Throw” by Mike Lupica includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 34 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Believing In What You Can’t See and Sportsmanship On and Off the Field.

Plot Summary

Mike Lupica’s 2009 novel, Million-Dollar Throw, is about Nate Brodie, a 13-year-old quarterback who is the star of his eighth-grade football team. The novel is geared towards middle schoolers, with simple language and a straightforward plot. Although it can be considered a sports novel due to its heavy emphasis on the play-by-play actions of Nate Brodie’s football games, it is also a novel about friendship, enduring hardship, and sacrifice.

Nate Brodie’s nickname is “Brady” because he has a knack for throwing the football exactly where he wants it to go, just like his favorite quarterback, Tom Brady. In the beginning of the novel, Nate is confident in his skills as a quarterback. He throws the football with precision during each game, helping his team win. Even though it’s implied that his team constantly wins because of Nate’s abilities, he is consistently humble and gives credit to his team. Nate is close with each of his teammates and his coach, and he considers football his happy place where everything in life makes sense. While school isn’t his strong suit, he has memorized his team’s entire playbook, and he knows exactly how to direct these plays on the field. However, Nate’s confidence in football begins to fade once his dad loses his job and his best friend, Abby, starts going blind due to a degenerative eye illness.

Abby has been Nate’s neighbor and best friend since they were little. Although she is a painter and doesn’t like football, and Nate is a football player who doesn’t care for art, the two make an inseparable pair and continually encourage each other in their personal pursuits. Abby is Nate’s number one fan; she attends each of Nate’s football games, and he is continually in awe of each of her paintings. Of course, Nate and Abby are really in awe of each other. While their relationship is strictly a platonic friendship, each has verbally expressed love for one another.

The central tension of the novel happens when Abby puts Nate’s name into a drawing for a chance to take the “million-dollar throw” during the halftime of the Patriot’s game on Thanksgiving Day. Nate’s name is drawn, and much of the novel focuses on Nate’s anticipation of this moment, which comes at the end of the book. While Nate has always been naturally gifted at throwing the football, he begins to have trouble with his aim due to the stresses in his life piling up: his dad loses his job, his mom is forced to work two jobs, he hardly sees his parents anymore, they’re selling the only home he’s ever known, and his beloved Abby is going blind. The main themes of the novel result from Nate’s process of dealing with these life stressors and regaining his ability to throw the football with precision and ease. By the end of the novel, Nate has once again mastered his throw, he throws the ball through the small hole during the Patriot’s game to win the million dollars, and he uses a substantial amount of that money to help Abby get a surgery that saves her sight.

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Chapters 1-6