SOCCERLAND

From the International Sports Academy series

Fourteen-year-old Flora struggles with her dual role as star soccer player at her rural Maine high school, dreaming of playing for the U.S. Soccer Girl’s National Team, and her family’s centuries-old tradition of potato farming. The need to succeed at soccer and honor the memory of her mother, a fellow soccer enthusiast, engulfs Flora in the two years following her mother’s death from cancer. When the invitation to attend a two-week National Team Identification Camp for her age group at the International Sports Academy in Colorado arrives, Flora eagerly accepts. Once there, she quickly realizes that being the best player at her high school is completely different from working and competing with equally skilled peers. Flora must deal with bullies, a fledgling crush and demanding coaches. Choat’s examination of the dedication, effort and sacrifice needed to become a national-level player is riveting and inspiring. She explores barriers to success a young female athlete can face, from coping with competitors’ taunts to self-esteem and family issues. Readers will be rooting for Flora as she struggles to achieve her goals. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5724-4

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2010

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A superb, complex romance full of heart, humor, and unforgettable characters.

ALL THE THINGS WE NEVER KNEW

Two promising Texas basketball players navigate the ups and downs of first love.

For 11th grade star players Carli and Rex, it’s love at first sight when he blows her a kiss from the free-throw line as she watches the game on the sidelines. Carli believes in magic and looks for signs in everyday life—like Rex’s kiss—to help her make decisions. Who should she live with after her parents’ divorce? What should she do with her future—one that won’t include basketball, which she knows will disappoint her father and teammates? Rex is a nature lover like his mother, who died giving birth to him. His father is distant, and inside their big, lonely house, Rex dreams of the NBA. Carli and Rex’s roller-coaster romance is rife with betrayal, heartbreak, grief, and family secrets. As narrators of alternating chapters, they are funny, smart, and unflinchingly candid. Well-written dialogue and fine attention to detail reveal Tamani’s strong insight into Gen Z life. The intensity and depth of Carli and Rex’s love story are conveyed as deftly as the high-energy play-by-plays in their basketball games. Tamani crafts layers of complexity around falling in love, making hard choices, and dealing with loss—on and off the court—in this deeply intimate story of two talented, sensitive teens. Carli, Rex, and their relatives and friends are Black; Rex’s teammates are White.

A superb, complex romance full of heart, humor, and unforgettable characters. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-265691-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Romance and quantum physics intertwine in this frothy introduction to multiverse SF.

EVERYTHING I THOUGHT I KNEW

What if memories could be transplanted along with a heart?

Before Bay Area 17-year-old Chloe collapsed while running and learned about her congenital heart defect, she was a competitive senior with her eyes set on college. Life post–heart transplant is completely different, and Chloe can’t seem to connect to her old life. Inexplicably drawn to taking up surfing, she finds herself falling for Kai, her enigmatic surf instructor. But she can’t ignore the constant, haunting nightmares and surreal, fragmented memories that inexplicably bombard her. A lifelong fan of science, and especially multiverse theories, Chloe finds herself hoping that cellular memory, the ability to store memories in cells outside the brain, is true. Because she’s almost 100% sure her anonymous heart donor gave her more than just an oxygen-pumping organ. What begins as a predictable rom-com veers into alternate/parallel universe science fiction, with each layer casting more doubt on Chloe’s reliability as a narrator. A slow start with repetitive exposition gives way to a page-turning finale. SF newbies may find the conclusion thought-provoking even if the puzzle pieces of Chloe and Kai’s relationship don’t always quite click into place. Chloe is White and Kai, who is from Hawaii, is biracial (Japanese/White).

Romance and quantum physics intertwine in this frothy introduction to multiverse SF. (Science fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0776-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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