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HEAD GAMES by Keri Mikulski


From the Pretty Tough series

by Keri Mikulski

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-59514-387-7
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Basketball, boys and friends dominate the mind of 15-year-old Taylor, a too-tall, shy athlete. Is it possible to be too nice? That’s Taylor’s problem. She can’t say “no” to anyone. But when her secret flame wants to start a romance with her, Taylor fears that his old girlfriend, Kylie, will object. Kylie is on the basketball team, too, and, indeed, out of anger seems willing to destroy both the team’s chances and Taylor’s future. Mikulski follows Taylor’s anguish as she unsuccessfully tries to avoid conflict. The insecure girl even blames herself for things she hasn’t done, as do her teammates. The prose flits around but conveys the angst of adolescent indecision. Suspense in the final basketball game weakens, however, when the author solves every one of Taylor’s problems with an unexpected revelation, a sudden personality change and an abrupt improvement in Taylor’s insight. After that, readers easily can predict the outcome of the game. It may still be, however, that Taylor’s nice way is the best way. In all, a rather sweet if undemanding story. (Fiction. 12 & up)