The story of Sasquatch in the Paint, written by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld, is one that the majority of us can relate to. We were all once that awkward kid in junior high trying to find a place to fit in, whether it was a position in the status quo or not, we all just wanted to have friends to sit with at lunch. In the seventh grade Theo had thought that he would forever be one of the nerds on campus, he and his best friend Brian had recently joined the Brain Train and could not be happier. The Brain Train was aRead More →

In Foul Trouble, veteran sports journalist and best-selling novelist, John Feinstein, takes an unflinching look at the cut-throat process of collegiate recruiting top student talent.  Feinstein pulls back the curtain to reveal a shadow world that is rarely seen by the general sports fan and it’s not a very pretty:  a subculture packed with unscrupulous people who latch onto these young athletes hoping to make millions on the kids’ talents; high stakes ultimatums and heavy amounts of pressure to go with the “highest bidder” even if its against NCAA rules and one’s own better judgment; and a dizzy array of media attention, drugs, swag, andRead More →

12 year old Lenny “the boy with the golden voice” loves hanging out on the couch with his best friends and announcing the play-by-play for the games of his beloved hometown team, The Philadelphia Phillies. When he wins the chance to do it for real, as the “Armchair Announcer,” for one inning of an upcoming game, Lenny knows this is the future for him.   Surely it will be the chance he’s been waiting for: to be noticed and recognized for his skills, both by major league pros and by his own, self-obsessed, work-aholic parents. But the game goes wrong before Lenny’s chance to announce:Read More →

If there was ever a character about whom you could say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, it would have to be Harrison Johnson in Tim Green‘s latest, Unstoppable.  Harrison is only 13 years old, but in his short life he’s already faced abusive foster parents, beating and intimidation from his fellow foster kids, a system set up to break him down, and the realization that his own mother will never be able to care for him like  a mother should.  When he catches a break and gets away from his most abusive foster family yet and lands in the loving, peaceful home ofRead More →

Readers of Carl Deuker’s sports stories will likely enjoy T. Glen Coughlin’s latest book.  One Shot Away: A Wrestling Story follows the narratives of three wrestlers in Molly Pitcher, New Jersey, during their senior year: Jimmy O’Shea, Diggy Masters, and Trevor Crow. Although not the typical wrestler’s build at 6’2”, Jimmy is ranked best 160 pounder in the county and slated for the Wall of Champions if he can avoid the distraction of his dad’s dastardly deeds.  Mr. O’Shea’s PhD in post hole digging, predilection for thievery, and passion for alcohol threaten to jeopardize Jimmy’s goals. At 152 pounds, Diggy is living in the shadowRead More →

Is Seventh Grade the right age to enter politics? For 12 year old baseball loving, clarinet playing Aiden Schroeckenbauer, the decision seems to be out of his hands – after a chance encounter with the new Fresh Ideas Party Presidential Candidate, Minnesota Governor Bettina Brandon, in which he not only shares his perspective on the manufacturing industry’s decline in his small hometown in Ohio, but also saves her from a falling metal sign – Aiden is recruited by the Governor and her campaign staff on their bus tour of the Midwest.  It seems Aiden’s youthful face, honest perspective, heroism, and small town values have struck a chordRead More →

Dandi Daley Mackall’s latest book for young adults, The Silence of Murder, takes the reader along on a slowly unraveling mystery about a beloved coach, murdered in cold blood; a mute, autistic teen, on trial for the crime; and a strong-willed young woman, determined to prove her older brother isn’t a killer.  Sixteen year old Hope is her 18 year old brother Jeremy’s protector, the only person who truly understands him and appreciates his unique way of being in the world.  Since  Jeremy stopped speaking at the age of 9, Hope has made it her mission in life to be the bridge between reserved, autistic, creative Jeremy andRead More →

Mike Lupica’s Hero, due from Philomel/Penguin Books in November 2010, is a variation on familiar territory for both Lupica and the teen-hero genre.  When 14 year old Billy Harriman’s dad, the globetrotting special advisor to the President, is mysteriously killed in a small aircraft crash, Billy’s world is turned upside down.  Billy had always looked up to his famous hero-of-a-dad, but also secretly wished he’d been around more, instead of always putting others, and America, before Billy and his mom.  But now that his dad is gone and never coming home, he is forced to confront the anger, resentment, and longings he’d suppressed for years. But that’sRead More →

Kurtis Scaletta’s novel about a cursed Minnesota town and its youth baseball team is a home run.  Moundville has seen 22 years straight of rain – is it a curse or just freaky weather?   Roy McGuire knows he’s in for a dreary, wet summer.  Baseball camp is over but when he returns home, he finds a foster kid named Sturgis sprawled out on his couch. As if this isn’t weird enough, just a few days after Sturgis’s arrival, the sun comes out. No one can explain why the rain has finally stopped, but as far as Roy’s concerned, it’s time to play some baseball. It’s time toRead More →