Posts Tagged 'basketball'

Boost by Kathy Mackel

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Sports

# of Pages:  248

RAC Book:  Yes

2011-2012 Iowa Teen Award Winner

Savvy is a very talented basketball player who despite only being 14, makes the under 18 travel team.  She has to prove herself from the beginning, however, because not everyone welcomes her onto the team.  Plus, she is new in town after her family suffered some financial hardships in their hometown and were forced to come stay on their relative’s sheep farm.  Savvy wants to fit in and prove herself more than anything.  Meanwhile, her sister Callie is having a hard time fitting in on the cheerleading squad she so desperately wants to join.  The stress of the move encouraged Callie to put on a bit of extra weight and because of that her career as a “flyer’ could be in jeopardy.  Both of the girls want to “boost” their game, but what will they be willing to do in order to succeed?

Boost follows a family who is making a transition and hoping for the best.  They all want to support each other, but they are all going through difficult challenges as well.  As Savvy and Callie try to find their way in this new town they are faced with challenges and temptations that may or may not be in their best interest.  In the end, they realize they must support each other no matter what because there is nothing more important than family.  A good sports fiction story that fans of Dairy Queen will enjoy.

Slam! by Walter Dean Myers

slam

Genre:  Sports/Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  266

RAC:  Yes

Slam is called Slam for a reason.  He can dunk a basketball right in the face of stiff competition.  When he is moved to a new school he has some trouble adjusting.  First, he is now separated from his friends, including his best friend, Ice.  He also has to focus on his grades because if they slip too much he won’t be eligible to play basketball, which is his favorite thing in the world to do.  His new school is much more difficult, so he is having trouble keeping up.  Plus, his coach and some of his teachers think he has an attitude problem, which does not help matters.  As Slam tries to deal with the many aspects of his life there always seems to be a new distraction to get in the way.  Friends from his old school try to convince him that Ice may be into something bad since he has a lot of money to burn all of a sudden.  Slam doesn’t want to see that Ice may be dealing drugs because he knows it could be the end of their friendship.  At the same time all of this is going on, Slam is fighting to get a place on the school basketball team.  Will he ever feel like he has some control over his life?

Fans of Walter Dean Myers will like this book as well.  Slam is a likable character with a lot of difficult, yet believable things going on in his life.  Many teenagers will be able to relate to dealing with friends, school, sports, and family at the same time.  Myers also weaves exciting sports action throughout the story which will make sports fans happy.  Most readers will wish that the story was longer just so they can follow Slam as he navigates through all the different people in his life for longer.  Teenage boys will be reaching for this one.

Summer Ball by Mike Lupica

Genre: Sports Fiction

Age Level: 12 and up

# of Pages: 244 p.

RAC Book: Yes

In this sequel to Travel Team Danny Walker and his friends go to a summer camp to play basketball for the summer. Danny is nervous from the start because even though their travel team ended up winning the championship there are always people who want to knock you down. When he arrives at the camp he learns that his name was left off the bunk list and he has to room with the younger kids. He takes this news surprisingly well considering the fact that he has issues with people thinking he is younger than he is due to his height. The rival from the championship game, Rasheed, is at camp and they are placed on the same team. Early on in the camp Danny learns that Rasheed and their team coach believe Danny has no place on a basketball court.

Danny Walker has many obstacles in this book considering his success in the previous one. The degree to which his coach dislikes him is amazing considering his ill treatment of Danny begins almost immediately. As Danny struggles with confidence, bullies, and even a homesick younger roommate he considers some drastic measures for escaping but ends up fighting his battles whether her wants to or not. The sports action is as good as ever in this book and fans of sports fiction will enjoy it. The fact that not everyone comes around to Danny’s way of thinking is a good reminder to readers that you will never get along with everyone and you just have to make the best of it. A good sports read.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 230

RAC Book: Yes

Junior is a young teen ready to begin high school on the reservation on which he and his family live. Junior was born with several health problems and had to have surgery on his brain at only six months old. Despite that he is incredibly smart, if not maybe a little skinny and dorky. His best friend is the town bully and he often protects Junior from getting beat up everyday. On the reservation there is a lot of alcoholism and poverty and he is always getting picked on by those around him.

After getting suspended by accidentally hitting a teacher with an old text book, he decides to commute the 22 miles to the next town in order to go to a better high school. He wants to go somewhere where the teachers are qualified and the text books are not the same ones his parents used when they were in school. By choosing to leave the reservation for school others on the reservation treat him like a traitor, especially his best friend who now hates him. When he gets to the new school he finds they completely ignore him, which is worse than getting picked on.

This humorous story follows a young boy who sees no opportunities around him and tries to go searching for some. He is courageous and tough as he tries to navigate these two worlds. His accounts of daily events are presented through his comics, which are very inciteful and funny. This story will amuse students while also shedding some light on racism and the true conditions of life on the reservation.

Black and White by Paul Volponi

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Sports

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  185 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Eddie and Marcus have been best friends for so long that no one even qusetions the fact that Eddie is white and Marcus is black.  In fact, since they are a dynamic duo on the basketball court they actually have the nickname “black and white.”  Unfortunately, they get the idea to hold people up in order to get extra cash and a man accidentally gets shot.  As the cops slowly start to put the pieces together they need to decide just what it means to be a good friend.  Does it mean taking the blame together or keeping your mouth shut and letting your friend walk away free?

This story discusses the differences in how African American and Caucasion people are treated in the court system.  This story is based on interviews conducted by the author with people who have been caught in similar situations.  Students will like this story because it discusses friendship as well as choices.  At our school we stress how important it is for students to be aware of the choices they make because each one can change the course of your life. 


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