Posts Tagged 'drugs'

Golden Arm by Carl Deuker

Genre: Sports Fiction

Lazarus earned his name when he almost died at birth and, in his mother’s eyes, came back to life. His father has never been in the picture and he was raised in a trailer with his mom and half brother. They have never had much money, but Laz was always happy to make due with whatever they could scrape together. Antonio, Laz’s little brother, has always wanted a better life than what they had. As they grew up, Laz begins working at a nearby golf range and watches helplessly as his brother begins hanging with a tough crowd. Laz has always had his pitching to keep him clear headed and focused, but when some members of his high school team were dismissed for possession of alcohol they were forced to forfeit the remainer of the season in Laz’s junior year. Now that he is a senior, he’s hoping to really show the area what he can do on the pitcher’s mound. Then, two things happen to change his senior plans. First, his coach leaves for another job and his high school principal declines to get a new one thereby cutting the baseball program. Second, they are notified that their trailer park is going to be demolished and they have six months to move, which would mean Laz would be moving in the middle of baseball season. Before he leaves, Laz’s coach contacts a nearby suburban school and convinces them to take a look at Laz. When they learn he could be in danger of moving one of the families offers to let him move in during second semester so that he can go to the new school and pitch on the team. For the first time, Laz is getting some real attention for his pitching, but he can’t help but feel guilty about leaving his brother behind. Can Laz pitch to a state championship? Can he help his brother stay out of trouble in his old neighborhood? Will he find a plan for himself once graduation is over now that his home is being destroyed?

Fans of baseball books will enjoy this new title by Carl Deuker. Laz is a likable character who has had a tough time up until now and at first it looks like his luck will really sink his future until his new school steps up and offers him a chance to go to school there. Laz does not let the opulence of his new home and school get to him, however. He knows they are only letting him into their world because of his pitching and he knows he does not belong there. Meanwhile, Antonio, who always had an easier time in the classroom appears to be going down a path that is difficult to come back from, but does not want to hear any advice from Laz. Laz is torn about whether or not to bring up his concerns with his mother because he does not want to betray Antonio. The baseball action is written in a well paced and exciting way to make the reader feel a part of the game. The ending is realistic, but optimistic at the same time. This is a great title for readers who like to read about sports, but want an interesting story alongside the sports action.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Genre:  Fantasy/Mystery

# of Pages:  465

Kaz Brekker has been through a lot in his young life and has grown tougher because of it.  He has worked his way up to running his own gang, the Dregs, and always seems to be one step ahead of his enemies.  One day he receives an interesting proposal from a government official: to break something out of an impenetrable prison for an absurd amount of money.  The truth is that Kaz does not think this job is possible, but that amount of money could allow him and his crew to truly start fresh which is a luxury none of them ever expected.  So, he builds his crew which includes a sharpshooter, a wrongfully convicted convict, a mysterious runaway, an escape artist, a spy, and a heartrender ( who can manipulate emotions).  The plan is full of danger and challenges, but none of these people have ever backed down from a challenge simply because they’ve had to do whatever it takes to survive.  Can they succeed where so many others would dare not even try?

A heist plot in such a unique setting makes this book a lot of fun.  The characters are well developed and intriguing all at the same time.  Despite their distrust for everyone and everything, this crew finds they can depend on each other when they need to and that’s something many of them have been looking their whole lives for.  The heist adventure itself is exciting and full of twists and narrow escapes.  Recommended for fantasy and mystery lovers.

Cherub: The Dealer by Robert Muchamore

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Spy Novel

# of Pages:  308

RAC Book:  Yes

James is back in this sequel as a twelve year old secret agent in CHERUB.  He begins the story by failing a training exercise and must face some rigorous training in order to earn some respect back from his fellow agents.  When he is asked to join a mission with three other teens he is eager and ready to go again.  Their mission is to befriend the children of a notorious drug dealer.  He ends up making friends with Junior, the boy his own age, pretty quickly and becomes one of the best inside informants.  As the others try to find information on the drug ring itself, James is offered the chance to deliver cocaine for cash.  He takes the opportunity to try and learn more about the inner workings of the organization, but quickly wonders if he has gotten in over his head.  Can James and his friends escape this mission unscathed?

This sequel is every bit as fun and exciting as the first.  James’ mission is dangerous, exciting, and believable as an important mission for any country to be focusing so many prime resources on.  The book is fast paced and the facts are revealed in a timely manner.  Fans of spy books such as The Sleeper Code will enjoy this title.

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.


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