Synopses & Reviews
My name is Julio Ramirez Jr. and baseball is my whole life.
Since he was ten, Julio has lived in the shadow of his famous father. Not just because Julio Senior is a pitcher for the Miami Marlins, but because he fled Cuba to play professional baseball, leaving his Julio and his mother and sister branded as the family of a traitor.
Now sixteen, Julio dreams of playing for Cubas national teamuntil he finds out his father's defection may destroy his chances. When hes given the opportunity to flee Cuba, he has to make the toughest choice of his life. Can he abandon his family, just like his Papi did? Will freedom be worth the perilous journey and risking prison if hes caught? Will his Papi be waiting for him on the other shoreor, with the Marlins in the World Series against the Yankees, has Julio Senior forgotten about his son?
Set against the backdrop of the Series on which everything depends, Game Seven is a suspenseful story of loyalty, survival, and baseball.
"High school senior Finley has always hoped that his basketball skills will help him escape the dead-end streets of Bellmont, a racially divided town outside Philadelphia, where his future seems bleak. As the only white guy on his school's basketball team, Finley is acutely aware of the uneasy relationship between Bellmont's substantial Irish- and African-American populations. Then Finley's coach introduces him to Russ, a black teenager who, ever since his parents were murdered, has retreated into a strange internal world, claiming to be an extraterrestrial known as Boy21. As Finley and Boy21's friendship slowly strengthens, they help each other change and grow; both boys attempt to understand past tragedies in their lives, as well as a new one involving Finley's girlfriend, Erin, which further disrupts Finley's understanding of the world. As in Sorta Like a Rock Star, Quick comes perilously close to overstuffing his story with offbeat characters and brutal twists of fate. Yet his emotionally raw tale retains a delicate sense of hope and optimism, making it a real gut punch of a read. Ages 12 up. Agent: Douglas Stewart, Sterling Lord Literistic." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
* "The answers here are satisfying but never simple...A story that, like Finley, expresses a lot in relatively few words."--Kirkus, starred review
"Beautiful...It is this depth that makes "Boy21" more than a first-rate novel fueled by basketball; it's a first-rate work of art."--The New York Time Book Review
"Every aspect of this multilayered novel harmonizes...excellently set-up twists display Quick's mastery of pacing; authentic dialogue and deft character development ensure both our emotional investment in these richly complex boys and also our empathizing with their main commonality--feeling like "you're not the person on the outside that you are on the inside.""--The Horn Book
"His emotionally raw tale retains a delicate sense of hope and optimism, making it a real gut punch of a read."--Publishers Weekly
Praise for Game Seven:
"An entertaining tale of baseball, family and loyalty." —Kirkus
Praise for The Final Four by Paul Volponi:
“A triple-overtime game keeps readers on the edge of their seats.” —BCCB, starred review “This gritty, realistic, and riveting novel deserves the wide audience it will no doubt attract.” —School Library Journal, starred review “Volponi nails it when it counts in this dynamic story.” —Booklist, starred review "Volponi, a multiple award-winning author, keeps the tension high from the first to last page ... The Final Four is definitely a winner." —VOYA, starred review
"Volponi's latest combines in-the-moment action, basketball history and the points of view of four college ballplayers with very different lives ... No story or character is simple." —Kirkus Reviews "The Final Four does a terrific job of capturing the emotion of March Madness.” —Mike Krzyzewski, Head Coach, Men's Basketball, Duke University “This is a great story about how one sport can transcend different experiences, backgrounds, and beliefs, and unite in a desire to succeed.” —Jim Calhoun, Head Coach, Men's Basketball, University of Connecticut (2010 National Champions) “It was inspirational to a coach and full of lessons to children of many ages.” —Jamie Dixon, Head Coach, Men's Basketball, University of Pittsburgh “A rocket ride of a plot that rips you into the story from the first line.” —Paul Griffin, author of Stay With Me “Paul Volponi delivers a high-octane basketball story fans will cheer for.” —Tim Green, author of Deep Zone, a Football Genius novel
A Junior Library Guild Selection
"Deuker creates a textured cast of parents, coaches, and teens and deftly handles themes of personal ethics, teamwork, burgeoning friendships, and coping with an abusive adult."
"A largely well-executed exploration of team spirit, friendship and the devastating impact of untrustworthy adults."
"Basketball fans will love the realistic hardwood action."
—The Horn Book Magazine
"The novel includes descriptions of many basketball plays and strategies, which should make this book particularly appealing to fans of the game."
"This is solid Deuker turf, populated by good kids trapped between conscience and goals. Expect fans to grab this title as soon as it hits the shelf."
"Short, action-packed chapters make for a quick read, but the story's underlying messages will linger. . . . What makes this story special is the careful handling of an incredibly difficult topic."
—VOYA, 5Q 4P J S
"Deuker's ability to create fully realized characters who wrestle with moral dilemmas while incorporating plenty of game action raises his novel above typical sports fiction by several notches. This one will satisfy the author's longtime fans and win him many new ones."
—School Library Journal
You can lose yourself in repetition--quiet your thoughts; I learned the value of this at a very young age.
Basketball has always been an escape for Finley. He lives in broken-down Bellmont, a town ruled by the Irish mob, drugs, violence, and racially charged rivalries. At home, his dad works nights, and Finley is left to take care of his disabled grandfather alone. He's always dreamed of getting out someday, but until he can, putting on that number 21 jersey makes everything seem okay.
Russ has just moved to the neighborhood, and the life of this teen basketball phenom has been turned upside down by tragedy. Cut off from everyone he knows, he won't pick up a basketball, but answers only to the name Boy21--taken from his former jersey number.
As their final year of high school brings these two boys together, a unique friendship may turn out to be the answer they both need.
High school senior point guard Jonas Dolan is on the fast track to a basketball career until an unthinkable choice puts his future on the line.
Levi was simple, like a child. It was the best thing about him, and it was the worst, too.
When high school senior Jonas moves to Seattle, he is glad to meet Levi, a nice, soft-spoken guy and fellow basketball player. Suspense builds like a slow drumbeat as readers start to smell a rat in Ryan Hartwell, a charismatic basketball coach and sexual predator. When Levi reluctantly tells Jonas that Hartwell abused him, Jonas has to decide whether he should risk his future career to report the coach. Pitch-perfect basketball plays, well-developed characters, and fine storytelling make this psychological sports novel a slam dunk.
About the Author
Carl Deuker participated in several sports as a boy. He was good enough to make most teams, but not quite good enough to play much. He describes himself as a classic second-stringer. "I was too slow and too short for basketball; I was too small for football, a little too chicken to hang in there against the best fastballs. So, by my senior year the only sport I was still playing was golf." Carl still loves playing golf early on Sunday mornings at Jefferson Park in Seattle, the course on which Fred Couples learned to play. His handicap at present is 13. Combining his enthusiasm for both writing and athletics, Carl has created many exciting, award-winning novels for young adults. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and daughter.