To Be the Best won the Award for “Best Characters” in the 2017 Red City Review Book Awards.

“With brief chapters that result in a fast-paced story that will keep you intrigued, To Be The Best is a poignant coming of age tale.”

Red City Review is a literary magazine which reviews books.

To Be The Best


The characters are painted in detail, and will be easy for readers to relate to. This book is sure to appeal to high school wrestling fans, brothers, and anyone who likes a good coming of age story.

H.L. has written something that can be enjoyed by teenagers, adults, wrestling fanatics, or anyone else.

Jason Effner, Wrestlers in Business

Hertel does wrestling right.  This is a book for both young and old alike.  Coaches, parents and wrestlers will connect with the story.

To Be The Best is a novel that is not only worthy of consideration for wrestlers and their friends and families but will also appeal to individuals who may not know the difference between a takedown and a touchdown.  It is a great read for anyone who has felt the competitive fire burn within their hearts.

Whether it’s about physical battles on the mat or emotional struggles off the mat, To Be The Best captures the realities of high school wrestling very well. Hertel knows his stuff when it comes to telling a compelling wrestling story.

Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine

…the depth of Hertel’s obvious knowledge of wrestling and his ability to build psychologically realistic characters makes this a startlingly interesting read. He really makes you care about his characters.

Kirkus Discoveries

Hertel’s passion and respect for the sport is clear as a reader flips through the pages of To Be the Best.  The novel is about more than just wrestling, however.  It also focuses on the struggles of teenagers – their triumphs and downfalls during the high school years.

The Grand Forks Herald

I not only enjoyed it thoroughly, but I can’t wait until the second book comes out!!  I have been recommending it to all my wrestling friends and non-wrestling friends! I think To be the Best would make a perfect movie!!!

Tracey Heimmermann, Wisconsin Wrestling Mom

See more ratings on with readers Including, I bought this for my 15 year old son, who loves wrestling and hates reading! He got it on Christmas day and has not put it down since.

To Be The Best: Rematch


Hertel again achieves a strong story about brotherhood and the world of high school wrestling. This book will leave readers, especially wrestling fans, hungry for more.

Rematch is even more appealing than the original, with surprising plot developments that will keep readers turning the pages to see what happens next. Wrestlers and fans will especially appreciate Hertel’s ability to realistically portray action in the wrestling room and on the mat. The author’s description of the climatic rematch [] is especially compelling for its rich detail and intricate plot twists.
There are a ton of valuable themes in this book for young adults. Messages about work ethic, fallibility of mind / body / spirit, overcoming that fallibility, importance of loyalty, importance of good sportsmanship are excellently touched upon.
Midwest Book Awards Judge

To Be The Best: Overtime


In To Be The Best: Overtime, the beloved wrestling series comes to an end. Hertel again presents a strong story about growing up, friendship, and the world of high school wrestling.

Wrestlers of all ages will find Hertel’s descriptions of what takes place in a wrestling room during practice — and during actual, high-stakes matches — to be compelling and realistic.
Overtime is a page-turner in the best sense of the word. The characters are genuine, individuals you can’t help but cheer on despite life’s challenges. The action is realistic and believable.
Without even being asked, 40% of test readers call Overtime their favorite book in the To Be The Best series.
The mark of a great story is when the reader is sad to come to the end because there is no more. Definitely how I felt as I finished OVERTIME