Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Summary: Seventh-grader Nick loves soccer. It’s the only thing that keeps him happy when his parents split up and a couple of bullies steal his bike. It’s a dream come true when his team gets invited to the youth soccer tournament Dallas Cup, but in a final game before they go, Nick is sidelined by both injury and illness. While recuperating in the hospital, he comes to value his friends Coby and April, the quirky but caring librarian from his school, and most of all, his parents, imperfect though they may be. By the end of the book, Nick and his family are moving toward a new normal and learning to appreciate and accept each other. 320 pages; grades 6-10.
Pros: This book in verse looks like a sequel to Kwame Alexander’s Newbery Award-winning The Crossover, but it’s a whole new cast of characters and story. The short poems and engaging story make the 320 pages fly by. It’s likely to have great appeal for reluctant middle school readers, boys and girls alike.
Cons: The story, and especially the language, isn’t as sparkling as The Crossover.