Zayd’s basketball obsession shares the spotlight with family developments in this third book in the Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream series.
Pakistani-American Zayd is now starting point guard on the gold team he worked hard to become a part of. They’re in a good position to make the championship, but Zayd faces a setback when his ankle is injured during basketball practice and he ends up on crutches. He is on the bench for several weeks, and, aside from missing playing, he worries that he won’t make it back in time to help them win. With some encouragement from Baba and Coach, Zayd learns how to conquer his self-pity and jealousy and to lead from the bench. Meanwhile, the wedding festivities for his uncle, Jamal Mamoo, are in full swing, from the pre-mehndi (where Zayd also takes on leadership and finds that choreographing a dance is akin to coaching a basketball team) to the mehndi to the wedding itself. Zayd is scared when his grandfather suffers from acute health issues, but he and his sister, Zara, try to help Nana Abu stay active, per doctor’s orders. Readers will enjoy watching Zayd grow in his game, his maturity, and his changing family life even if this volume is a bit heavy on the latter.
A solid read about being your best self on and off the court, with an appealing Muslim protagonist. (Fiction. 7-11)