Originally published in: 2016
What it’s about: A teen boy has his first romantic interest while struggling to deal with bullies at school and his parents divorce.
What made me pick it up: I saw Kwame Alexander speak at the Virginia Library Association annual conference in October and hadn’t read any of his books. In one weekend I checked out and completed this and his earlier Newbery Medal-winning book The Crossover. Oh yeah, and the entire book is written in verse.
My favorite things: Alexander has an ability to really make books about sports feel like the sporting event. They just have a flow to them. I really appreciated the true depiction of a teenager – priorities confused, emotions confused, everything dramatic but not any more than would actually happen. I was also pleased to see support for mental health issues by adults surrounding the teen characters.
Who it’s great for: Teens. Adults. Anyone looking for a quick, fun read with realistic characters. Fans of soccer and unusual vocabulary words. People looking for something a little different.