Olympic gold medalist Morgan runs down the celebrity-sports-fiction checklist in this series opener: New school? Check. New friends? Check. New boyfriend? Maybe! New soccer team? Check. Inspire said team to take on snooty archrival private school? Check.
Quickly shedding perfunctory initial reservations, Devin sails into seventh grade at Kentville Middle School, makes instant connections in class and at Kangaroos soccer tryouts. She meets requisite bully Mirabelle at the latter, then goes on to be elected team co-captain. After a disastrous start to the season, she helps her team’s members and even the less-than-rigorous coach land on the same winning page. Following a sleepover, a dance, team-building drills and exercises, pep rallies, minor problem-solving and motivational strategizing, Devin prods the Kangaroos into position to beat the haughty Pinewood Panthers in a climactic rematch while also schooling Mirabelle, who has jumped ship to join the rival team.
Wholesome? Yes. Proper hard work and teamwork values in place? Yes. Paint by numbers? Oh, yes. (soccer glossary) (Fiction. 8-10)