Mike Lupica "Summer Ball"
Publisher: Puffin 2008 | 272 Pages | ISBN: 0142411531 | PDF | 2 MB
This novel continues the story of Danny Walker, the basketball-obsessed hero of Travel Team (Philomel, 2004). In the interval between the two books, the 13-year-old and his friends went on to win the travel-team championship. Now that they are heading off to summer basketball camp, Danny is feeling the pressure of being number one. He plays as well as ever, but he's still the smallest boy on the court and anxiously hoping for a growth spurt. As the story begins, things quickly go wrong for him. He fights with his girlfriend before he leaves; at camp, he's separated from his friends and assigned a berth in the younger boys' cabin. There are many familiar elements and few surprises here, yet Lupica breathes life into both characters and story. Danny is a classic sports-story underdog, but he's also sympathetic and engaging. He is surrounded by a cast of supporting characters who add humor and whose interactions ring true. When Danny befriends Zach, who is a younger version of himself, readers see the protagonist grow in empathy and self-awareness. Sports fans will relish the on-court action, expertly rendered in Lupica's taut prose. This worthy sequel to Travel Team should earn a wide audience.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA