Posts Tagged 'Sports'

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.

Hurricane Song by Paul Volponi

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  136 p.

RAC:  Yes

Miles recently moved to live with his musician father in New Orleans and is still trying to get used to his new city when Hurricane Katrina unexpectedly changes his life forever.  Miles, his father, and his uncle all end up in the overcrowded Superdome.  There are terrible living conditions, including not enough food, gang activity, and limited bathrooms.  They also lose the freedom to come and go freely.  Miles and his family try to make the best out of their stay, but face many hardships as they try to wait out the storm.  In the process, the people around Miles struggle to come to terms with the fact that their entire lives and the city they love are all gone.

Many people saw accounts of Hurricane Katrina on the news, but this book gives an inside view of what it would have been like to actually live through this catastrophe.   There are some violent and difficult situations that arise as people panic and strive to keep their families safe.  For anyone who has not been in a situation this sudden and severe this can be an eye opening read about the many aspects of human nature during a natural disaster.

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.

Knights of the Hill Country by Tim Tharp

Genre:  Sports

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  233 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

This football story takes place in Kennisaw, Oklahoma where football is the most important thing on earth.  Hampton Green, the star of the team, is trying to lead the team to the fifth straight undefeated season.  This has only been done once before and those men are still revered in the area.  Hampton’s best friend, Blaine, wants the undefeated season worse than anyone.  Blaine used to be a very powerful player as well, but sustained a knee injury during the previous season.  He tries to pretend he is still the same player, but anyone can see that he is not performing where he used to.

As the team inches closer to the end of the season Hampton starts to notice for the first time that not everyone always agrees with what Blaine says.  Ever since Hampton moved to Kennisaw in junior high and Blaine accepted him as his friend, he has listened to everything Blaine said and accepted it as fact.  Since Hampton’s father left him and his mom and she fell apart, Hampton looked to Blaine and his dad for male advice.  Now it seems that Blaine is getting defensive with his words and aggressive with his fists and it’s always Hampton who has to bail him out of tough situations.

Hampton also meets a girl, Sara, who is not interested in football, but in what Hampton has to say.  He really enjoys talking to her until Blaine insists she isn’t good enough and forces him to stay away from her.  Hampton must come to decide if he should stand by Blaine because they have been best friends for so long, or if he should start thinking for himself and decide what he wants to do with his life besides football.  Sports fans will enjoy this book and athletes will be able to relate to the difficult issues that come with having young athletes put so much stress on themselves.

Vanishing Act by John Feinstein

Genre:  Mystery/Sports

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  279

RAC Book: Yes

Vanishing Act follows two young reporters, Susan Carol and Stevie, whom readers might remember from Last Shot: a Final Four Mystery.  In this story, Susan Carol and Stevie are writing about the US Open.  They are staying with Susan Carol’s uncle, who is an agent.  When one of the most anticipated players vanishes between the locker room and the court complete chaos ensues. The player was originally from Russia, so her parents immediately blame the Russian mafia, but Stevie thinks that answer seems too convenient.

Susan Carol and Stevie use some creative methods for finding out information regarding their cases, but many times their plans seem plausible.  Soon Stevie becomes suspicious of Susan Carol’s uncle, which creates some tension as he is then told to find somewhere new to sleep.  This distraction, however, does not even slow these young reporters down as they try to find out the truth.

This book has all of the charm of the first and in many ways builds on the characters to create an even better mystery with many layers.  The disappearance of the tennis player is only the beginning as Susan Carol and Stevie try to find answers.  When some of the information they find is troubling or dangerous to themselves, they continue to push ahead.  Students who like to read about sports and/or mysteries will be fans of this book.