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BOOST by Kathy Mackel

BOOST

By Kathy Mackel

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3240-7
Publisher: Dial

Against the odds, 13-year-old, 6’2” Savvy, the psychologically tough heroine of Mackel’s engrossing story, makes it onto a competitive basketball team for older girls. To boost her level of proficiency so that she can battle the more experienced players, she must practice, and practice hard. Besides the pressure of basketball, Savvy, whose family has had to move from their large house in New Mexico to an aunt’s sheep farm in Rhode Island, must begin a new school and help her injured aunt with the sheep. It’s a demanding schedule, and Savvy is determined to meet all challenges. But her biggest test in this basketball novel, which features play-by-play action and deals empathetically with both the pleasure and pressure of athletic competition, comes when her integrity is called into question with accusations of steroid use. Although the author tries to muddy the waters with an undercooked subplot that involves possible past malfeasance on the part of Savvy’s coach, the final revelation is heavily foreshadowed, making the most surprising thing how readily Savvy forgives. (Fiction. 12 & up)