In a didactic but well-crafted sports story, a teen basketball phenomenon learns not to take his own superstar future for granted.
Not yet 16, Drew “True” Robinson has been treated like a star since some of his first forays onto the basketball court. When he spots a talented, solitary older player on his neighborhood court late one night, Drew thinks he's seen a ghost. What he's met is a cautionary tale: The man, who tells Drew to call him Donald, is a former basketball legend who lost everything when he became too invested in the hype surrounding him. When Drew too begins to make mistakes on the court, he seeks out Donald, haunted by the man's story. Like Donald, most characters function equally well as symbols and as people: Mr. Gilbert, the rich benefactor who treats Drew like a luxury commodity; Drew's teammate and best friend, Lee, content to pick up Drew's off-the-court slack for the good of the game. The clear message here is that young athletes should not let fame go to their heads, a case made so well by the story that Drew's continued arrogance and poor decision-making is sometimes difficult to believe.
A solid mix of character-driven realism and basketball action. (Fiction. 12-18)