By Rachel Sarah,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Poignant tale of Polish immigrant teen's struggle to fit in.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows what it's like to grow up as a contemporary adopted teen who immigrates to the United States and plays on a mixed-raced sports team.
Important messages about the need for connection, friendship, and being part of a team. Do your best, make the right choices, and stand up to bullies. Explores mature themes such as parent abandonment, death, and a parent drinking.
Positive Role Models
Adam's adoptive mom, Renata, found Adam cold, hungry, alone in a park in Poland when she was doing research in Europe. After adopting him, she tries to help him transition to a new life, and shows deep empathy for Adam's friend, Barry, an ostracized kid who lives in a trailer park and does Tae Kwon Do. Carli's adoptive father, a college coach, sees the potential in Adam and gets him a tryout for an AAU team.
Violence & Scariness
A scene where Adam is bullied; the incident erupts into a fight, but it's not graphic. Adam's father's drinking told in backstory, but again it's not graphic.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Teen romance with one brief kissing scene and flirting on the court. No overt sexual situations.
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Occasional strong language includes "s--t," "f--k, "d--k," "bitch," "a--hole," and "damn."
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Products & Purchases
Some name brands mentioned, including sports teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers and stars such as Steph Curry, Michael Jordan, LeBron James. Many social media mentions, such as YouTube, Twitter. Also McDonald's and a Lexus SUV.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adam's father's drinking is mentioned in backstory, without graphic scenes, and there's one mention of college kids drinking at a restaurant.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hooper is a realistic contemporary novel by YA author Geoff Herbach in which a 16-year-old sophomore who was recently adopted from Poland by a single mom starts high school in the small town of Mankato, Minnesota. Adam Sobieski, who now calls himself Adam Reed, narrates the story in sometimes-broken English with humor and honesty about his love of basketball, his alcoholic father who abandoned him, his mother's death, and racial tension in his new community. Parents should be prepared to discuss immigrating to a new country, the process of grieving, class and money issues, and bullying. There's some typical strong language, including "s--t" and "f--k," and a bullying incident erupts into a fight. Sexual content is limited to flirting and one brief kissing scene.
Where to Read
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What's the Story?
In HOOPER, 16-year-old Adam Reed, a recent Polish immigrant who was adopted by a single mom, first finds happiness in America on the basketball court. After getting tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, he wants to believe that basketball is his ticket to the good life. It's definitely a way to get closer to his new crush, Carli Anderson, a basketball star who smells like honey and feels empathy for Adam. But after a bullying incident turns violent and the police are called, Adam's future might be in jeopardy.
Is It Any Good?
This is a compelling coming-of-age YA novel about basketball, prejudice, privilege, and family. Hooper is raw, funny, and honest, and about so much more than basketball. There are many layers here about class, racial injustice ("being white and rich makes you think you have the keys to the whole damn world"), and what loyalty in friendship and family means. Teens will love all the basketball adrenaline-filled scenes on court, the short chapters and rocking chapter titles, and especially Adam's emotional insight and humor.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Hooper explores the challenge of moving to a new country where you struggle to speak the language. What other books and movies can you think of that tackle a teen immigrating to the United States and starting a new life?
How would it feel to start at a new school in a small town where you don't know anyone? How might life be hard if you were the new kid who didn't know the rules? What wouldn't you want people to discuss about your family and life if you'd just been adopted and registered at a new high school?
How does forgiveness help in Hooper? Have you ever had trouble forgiving a family member? How did that affect your relationship?
- Author: Geoff Herbach
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Publication date: April 2, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 336
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, App
- Last updated: April 6, 2018
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