Reviews for Rivals

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

This basketball saga critically redefines “love of the game.” In Walthorne, middle school sports revolve around the storied rivalry between the Walthorne North Middle School Cougars and the Walthorne South Middle School Panthers. North is captained by point guard Austin Chambers, whose well-off parents provide him with everything he needs to succeed—in part because his father is a Penn State basketball legend. Things aren’t so rosy for Carter Haswell, captain of South. As far as his parents are concerned, basketball is his job, as an athletic scholarship could relieve financial strife. What could be a tale of haves and have-nots swerves, instead examining the pernicious effects poor judgment, vicarious living, and outright self-interest can have on the physical and mental well-beings of student athletes. Peer relationships cause problems: Austin pressures wounded teammate Clay to play a high-stakes game, exacerbating his injury. Best intentions go awry: Alfie Jenks, a die-hard hoops fan and aspiring journalist, learns the importance of oversight, diligence, and context as her reporting sparks scandals. Egocentricity reigns: Carter’s coach encourages him to cheat in class, leading to the player’s suspension and the coach’s resignation. When misconduct brings their season screeching to a halt, North and South settle their differences without adult interference. Most characters are White; racism and socio-economic status come in for critical evaluation. A crucial, necessary reminder: Sports should be fun! (author’s note, reading list) (Sports fiction. 10-14) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

This basketball saga critically redefines love of the game.In Walthorne, middle school sports revolve around the storied rivalry between the Walthorne North Middle School Cougars and the Walthorne South Middle School Panthers. North is captained by point guard Austin Chambers, whose well-off parents provide him with everything he needs to succeedin part because his father is a Penn State basketball legend. Things arent so rosy for Carter Haswell, captain of South. As far as his parents are concerned, basketball is his job, as an athletic scholarship could relieve financial strife. What could be a tale of haves and have-nots swerves, instead examining the pernicious effects poor judgment, vicarious living, and outright self-interest can have on the physical and mental well-beings of student athletes. Peer relationships cause problems: Austin pressures wounded teammate Clay to play a high-stakes game, exacerbating his injury. Best intentions go awry: Alfie Jenks, a die-hard hoops fan and aspiring journalist, learns the importance of oversight, diligence, and context as her reporting sparks scandals. Egocentricity reigns: Carters coach encourages him to cheat in class, leading to the players suspension and the coachs resignation. When misconduct brings their season screeching to a halt, North and South settle their differences without adult interference. Most characters are White; racism and socio-economic status come in for critical evaluation.A crucial, necessary reminder: Sports should be fun! (authors note, reading list) (Sports fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.