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Claudia Mills, Ph.D. (Children's Literature)
The tried-and-true sports story formula of the triumph of the underdogs gets a fresh, funny, and touching treatment here. River Borowitz-Jacobs (her name gives a good glimpse of her vegetarian, feminist parents) is devastated when she fails to make the cut for Coach Glover's elite sixth-grade girls' basketball "A-Team," but instead is assigned to the "B-Team" with the other rejects, including a girl in a wheelchair and someone's fourth-grade sister. But right away she rallies and renames the B-Team the "Hoop Girlz," with only one goal in mind--fun! While the A-Team players run "suicide" drills on the reserved indoor courts, training how best to showcase the athletic gifts of Coach Glover's daughter, the Hoop Girlz develop teamwork on outdoor courts in the rain, coached only by River's fourteen-year-old brother. Impressed by her determination, Coach Glover finally offers River her long-coveted spot on the A-Team, but River surprises herself (though not the reader) by staying with the Hoop Girlz. Bledsoe manages to stage a (partial) victory for River's team in a just-believable-enough way to leave readers crying and cheering at the end. Along the way, a subplot involving a local "haunted" house is cleverly integrated into the story's resolution, and Coach Glover and his ball-hogging daughter learn to lighten up as well. The badly needed message is that playing to win is not as powerful as playing for the love of it. 2002, Holiday House, $16.95. Ages 10 to 14.
Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2002 (Vol. 70, No. 17))
An 11-year-old girl who lives to play basketball creates her own team, the Hoop Girlz, when she's not selected to be on the town's A-list squad. River Borowitz-Jacobs adores basketball. So when tough-minded Coach Wally Glover recruits sixth-grade girls to play in the Oregon Coast Tournament, an opportunity that will afford one talented child a shot at free basketball camp, River is at the tryouts. But Coach "play to win" Glover feels that River lacks the necessary "mental fortitude," so she doesn't make the cut. After her initial devastation, River bounces back and creates her own team made up of Glover's rejects, including a girl in a wheelchair and a teammate's little sister. Aided by her older brother Zack, who turns out to be a shrewd and savvy coach, the Hoop Girlz learn not only how to strategize and work together as a unit, but also how to have "fun, fun, fun" while doing it. The story is so familiar that readers will almost be able to hear the theme music in the background as River's team overcomes obstacles and prepares for the big meet. Still, the formula works, the ride is enjoyable, and Bledsoe (Cougar Canyon, 2001, etc.) throws in a few minor surprises to keep young bookworms on their toes. Although the material is slightly marred by an undercooked subplot involving Coach Glover's daughter, Bledsoe is able to transmit her most important point, the pure love of playing, which River likens to going "through a secret door" and entering the "magical kingdom of basketball." Tailor-made for the high-interest, low-reading level audience, too. 2002, Holiday House, $16.95. Category: Fiction. Ages 10 to 14. © 2002 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
|Language||Call Number||LCCN||Dewey Decimal||ISBN/ISSN|
|English (eng)||PZ7.B6168 Ho 2002