EDENVILLE OWLS by Robert B. Parker


Age Range: 12 - 14
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Trying his hand at writing for a younger audience, the bestselling novelist wraps a tale of bigotry and spousal abuse around a pick-up basketball team’s drive to the state tournament, and the hormone-driven confusion of its young coach. As 8th-grader Bobby struggles to understand changes in his feelings for long-time good buddy Joanie, he takes on two challenges. One is to find ways to make the closely knit team he and his friends have put together good enough to win, and the other is to help his stubbornly silent new teacher Miss Delaney, who is being regularly visited by a menacing stranger and comes to class with bruises on her face. Despite clumsy attempts to create a sense of period—the plot, set in 1945, periodically grinds to a halt while Bobby nostalgically details favorite comics, movies and radio shows—Parker crafts a suspenseful tale. The stranger, who turns out to be Miss Delaney’s ex and a deranged white supremacist, comes off as simultaneously dangerous and ridiculous, and Bobby gets through thanks to a justified conviction that he can always figure out what to do. A good bit of storytelling, though written from an older adult’s vantage point—compelling basketball action, too. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: April 19th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-399-24656-2
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: Sleuth/Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2007