A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a hard-boiled depiction of life in the ghetto and the world of basketball, as the main character hovers between crime and a scholarship. Poor grammar adds to the realism. Compelling writing illuminates the life of a street-smart kid and a failed athlete. Suspense and great basketball action keep kids hooked.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Lonnie lives in Harlem with little hope for the future. He has one asset, his basketball game. His only chance for a scholarship depends on Cal, a failed pro who has hit bottom. Cal improves Lonnie's game, but disappears just when Lonnie needs him most. Fast basketball action and sensitive characterization combined with a suspenseful story attracts sports-minded readers.
Is it any good?
Fast, detailed basketball action combined with a realistic depiction of life on the streets of Harlem keeps kids who love sports enthralled. Seventeen-year old Lonnie wants to stay out of the violent organized crime in his neighborhood, but has no qualms about stealing a carton of scotch when the opportunity arises. He's in school, but his life revolves around basketball, in which he has real talent. His only chance to escape poverty comes with a basketball tournament for street kids -- Lonnie confidently expects to emerge as a leading player and get a scholarship.
Walter Dean Myers realistically reproduces the slang used by the characters, and gives readers a strong sense of life in the ghetto. Lonnie has little adult supervision but he has values, especially regarding basketball. He's appalled that Cal lost everything by participating in a gambling scheme. The re-emergence of the gamblers in Lonnie's tournament adds considerable suspense.
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