- Author: Nora Raleigh Baskin
- Published: February 2005
- ISBN-10: 0060596112
- ISBN-13: 9780060596118
- Format: Hardcover
- Copyright: 2005
- Subject: JUVENILE FICTION / Sports & Recreation / Basketball
Told in alternating first-person chapters, this novel explores the lives of four sixth-graders united by their love for basketball. Hank is agonized by the pressure his parents put on him to excel at sports, while Nathan has to lie to his parents about playing sports at all. Annabel is ignored by her parents, who dote on her brother's sports performance, and Jeremy, the best player on the team, has just been permanently left by his parents at his grandparents. When the four youths have detention together, they learn each other's stories, and devise a plan for the last game of the year that will help change all of their athletic and domestic lives. (Grades: 5-8).
Sixth-graders Hank, Nathan, Jeremy, and Anabel form a lasting friendship over the course of the North Bridge Sixth Grade Travel Basketball season, the setting for this school sports story. Perhaps it is the distance of the third-person narrative that keeps each of these characters from coming alive, or perhaps it is their stock situations: Hank's parents live for their son's sports success; Nathan isn't any good; Jeremy is a star, but unhappy in his new home with his grandmother; and Anabel's family ignores her talents in favor of her brother's. The influence of adults on pre-teen athletics is as much the subject as basketball itself. Although believable, the message takes over, to the detriment of plot and character development. The framing news article helps flesh out Anabel's story, but the last chapter, explaining what happened right up into their senior year, seems tacked on. Readers might want more about the games, but those who play on sports teams will recognize these characters and be rooting for them. (Fiction 10-12) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
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