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Synopsis of Cover-Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl

Two teen sports reporters Stevie and Susan Carol get the opportunity to cover America’s largest sporting event. The Super Bowl. Over 95 million sports fans will be watching and the teens know everyone will be watching a lie. They discovered an owner covering up doping test results. The entire offensive line failed their drug tests and should be out of the game. The problem is they have to figure out how to prove it. Cover-Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl is the story of how friendships are tested and saved through hard work.

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First Impressions

First off, I was a little apprehensive to start this book because I was starting with the third book. So I wasn’t sure if I could start from the third or if I wouldn’t know what was going on. It turned out to not be a big deal because the author covered the backstory without ruining the first two books. 

I had no idea what the book was about or how much football would play into the plot. I’ve gained a larger appreciation for football since I married someone from Alabama. I just hoped that my knowledge was enough to understand what was happening in the book.

Cover-Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl Parent Guide

Overall: PG
Violence: G – An almost kidnapping
Language: PG – infrequent use of mild profanity 4x total
Adult Content: PG – teenager kisses
Reading Level: Grades 4-12

Touchy Topics in Cover-Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
  • Honesty – One of their sources struggles with honesty and let others know about the cheating taking place without being ostracized in the process.
  • Lying – The main plot of the story is discovering and unveiling the truth. The teens also slightly manipulate their words a few times in a way so they aren’t lying but others perceive a falsehood to trick them into revealing more than that person would have otherwise.
  • Listening to Mentors – A big theme is to listen to those around you with more knowledge. Whether that was their writing and publishing mentors, parents, and other well-respected individuals.
  • Sticking up for your Friends – There are multiple rough situations where they could have ended their friendship in the book but they instead banded together against others who would tear them apart.
  • Not in Charge of Consequences – The hard part of this book is the main characters weren’t able to make a visible impact quickly, and they struggled with the fact that the bad guys were getting away with something. They learned that consequences do come and that it wasn’t their place to enforce it.
  • Jealousy – Stevie becomes jealous a few times about Susan Carol’s new co-worker but by opening up to her he was able to work through it.


“In part, Kelleher wanted Stevie to look for the offbeat story – players, or other, who weren’t getting that much attention, the classic sidebar sort of story. But he has also told him to keep his eyes and ears open for anyone or anything that looked odd or different or out of place.”

– John Feinstein, Cover-Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl

“Stevie watched for a minute and then headed down the hall in the opposite direction. He had a story to write. A story no one else would be writing that day.”

– John Feinstein, Cover-Up: Mystery at the SuperBowl

“Would it matter if a couple players – let’s, for the sake of argument, say five players, maybe even five offensive linemen–were getting away with a positive test right now?”

– John Feinstein, Cover-Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl, Susan Carol quoting Dr. Snow

My Thoughts about Cover-Up: Mystery at the Super Bowl

I really like how this book shows a different side to sports. It takes you behind the scenes. The reader gets to see how TV studios and newspaper businesses cover events. The book gives a good insight into journalism. It focused on how to find the story by talking to individuals.

It was not what I was expecting from a sportsbook. The mention different football plays and there are a lot of big names dropped throughout the book. However, it is focused on journalism and how sports are affected by it. I loved how we see them going through the whole process and not just writing. Plus, how they were able to get their information was awesome! I thought it was cool how they wanted actual proof and not a random rumor before publishing their story.

Ultimately, Cover-up talks about honesty and doing the right thing even if everyone is going to hate you. It took a lot of courage to do what these kids did. I hope it can inspire other young writers and sports fans to have similar honesty and courage.

What to Read Next?

Another book where the main character has to solve the mystery and bring down the bad guy is Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz. Also, don’t forget to check out the other books in the series. Hopefully, you go back and read the first two and continue on with the series!

Happy Reading!


This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and decide to buy, I make a small commission for referring you. This helps me make a few cents for doing what I love.