Reviews for After The Shot Drops

by Randy Ribay

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 8 Up-A dually narrated story of two teen boys, Bunny and Nasir, struggling with a dying friendship shapes Ribay's latest. Nasir feels abandoned after Bunny leaves their school to attend an upscale private school to play basketball and is dating Keyona, a girl he had always been interested in. The season is going well and the team, led by Bunny, is on its way to winning a state title. But Nasir's friend Wallace is digging himself deeper into debt and physical trouble, placing bets on high school games and against Bunny's specifically. Nasir then becomes complicit in sabotaging Bunny's chances with explosive and life-altering consequences. Not only is the book well-paced with short chapters switching perspectives, the secondary characters are rich in detail, and Bunny and Nasir are fully realized protagonists with families, friendship, school, and sports. Drama propels the story forward while its emotional appeal builds empathy for both boys' circumstances. Seamlessly, tension exacerbates the weighty choices that come with their responsibilities. And while the climax is predictable, it feels inevitable. The trajectory of each boy's future is in the hands of the third teen, Wallace. Without a doubt, Ribay's compelling book belongs on the shelf alongside contemporary heavy-hitters like Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give, Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds's All-American Boys, and Nic Stone's Dear Martin. VERDICT A must-have for YA shelves.-Alicia Abdul, Albany High School, NY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Basketball provides the backdrop for a friendship pushed to its limits in this tale told from the alternating perspectives of two teen boys growing up in a tough inner-city neighborhood reminiscent of Camden, New Jersey. Biracial Nasir and African-American Bunny had been best of friends until last summer, when Bunny, Whitman High's star basketball player, is recruited away to private, suburban St. Sebastian's and its high-powered basketball program. The once-prideful reputation that he garnered winning for the home team, la real-life Camden legend Dajuan Wagner, turns to insult, rage, and anger as his former classmates question whether Bunny is preparing to leave them and the neighborhood behind for good. After losing Bunny, Nasir begins to build a relationship with his perennially troubled black cousin Wallace, a wayward child who needs much more support than the world has afforded him and who lashes out frequently in numerous exhausting ways. Meanwhile, the lightning-smart Keyona, Bunny's girlfriend and biggest remaining Whitman fan, hopes to rekindle the friendship between Bunny and Nasir. By and large avoiding upfront race talk, Ribay makes his point by drawing characters of color full of complexity and contradiction. A genuine touch of Filipino flavorNasir's mom grew up in the Philippinesdemonstrates that one can step beyond reductive black/white-only portrayals of inner-city neighborhood life.A well-executed book featuring complex, diverse characters we rarely meeta real winner for its heartbeat, compassion, and integrity. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

After his best friend basketball superstar Bunny Thompson transfers schools for a better shot at college scholarships, Nasir is left angry and alone, abandoned for bigger and better things. When Nasir's cousin Wallace gets into serious trouble trying to raise money to prevent his grandmother's eviction, Nasir sees only one way out asking his former best friend to throw the state championship game. Bunny must choose between losing his best friend and throwing away everything he has ever hoped for. Ribay's depictions of Bunny's and Nasir's lives are beautifully if not tragically­ drawn using alternating points of view, allowing Ribay to revisit the same scenes from alternate angles. He painstakingly shows the state of (sometimes violent) desperation for many young men of the inner city, buoyed only by the distant chance of a better life through stardom. Despite its downbeat aspects, the story nevertheless manages to infuse humanity into the boys' lives by showcasing the importance of family, the value of friendship, and the role of courage in the face of difficult situations.--Suarez, Reinhardt Copyright 2017 Booklist

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Told in alternating first-person narratives, this layered and emotionally rich story gracefully captures its protagonists' external pressures and inner conflicts. Aware of his parents' financial struggles, high school sophomore and basketball star Bunny accepts a full scholarship to St. Sebastian's, a private school, hoping to increase his chances of getting a full ride to college. His best friend Nasir views this choice as a defection and cuts ties with Bunny. Ribay (An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes) conveys both boys' isolation: Bunny struggles as one of the few black students in his school ("Most days I don't feel like anything more than their mascot"), and Nasir wrestles with rejection and frustration, particularly as he compares Bunny's good fortune with the dire circumstances facing his cousin Wallace: "He's got the world looking out for him. I'm the only one in Wallace's corner." As the boys take tentative steps to salvage their friendship, they navigate high-stakes choices and consider the value of loyalty, integrity, and sacrifice in a story driven by fast-paced drama on and off the court. Ages 14-up. Agent: Kaylee Davis, Dee Mura Literary. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

High school basketball star Benedict ("Bunny") Thompson transfers to an elite school where he's one of six black kids out of a thousand. Ribay alternates the first-person points of view of Bunny and his best friend, Nasir, and avoids heavy-handedness through authentic-sounding dialogue. The story revolves around basketball, but it will have wide appeal as a tale of friendship and trying to do the right thing. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.