Age Range: 14 & up
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Fighting, flirting and familial pressure set the scene for an intense day at a regional chess tournament. Brothers Zeke and Randy Mansfield have never been close. Zeke is the soccer player who has to work hard for just about anything he wants. Randy is more relaxed and outgoing and is the only person who can regularly beat Zeke at chess. The only thing the boys think they have in common is the mutual but unspoken low opinion of their father. To the senior Mansfield, winning is everything; nothing ever fully pleases him. As the day of intense play progresses, Zeke and Randy become more open with each other regarding their parents and the state of their brotherly relationship. Chess may be an exciting game to play and even to watch, but the tension between the players and audience doesn’t come through to readers here during the scenes of play. The lack of physical action consequently slows the book down in parts, but the interesting characters, natural dialogue and overall slenderness keep it from checkmate by boredom. A decent choice for boys looking for mental rather than physical adventures. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: Feb. 10th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-375-84058-6
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2009


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