Published by Atheneum
Summary: Conor’s life is all about hockey, his dog, and his dad. During the year he turns 12, he rises from a peewee AA team to AAA and learns what it’s like to go from being the best on the team to struggling to keep up. In addition to team practices and games, he does intensive exercise routines and gets private coaching, all of which is a financial strain for his policeman father who made it to the NHL for three weeks and hopes for a professional career for his son. When Conor’s beloved Doberman Sinbad is diagnosed with cancer, Conor is forced to decide between some of his hockey extras and Sinbad’s $7,000 treatment. During the course of the year, Conor is also forced to deal with some of his feelings about his maternal grandparents, who moved away after his mom died but now want to be back in his life. By the end of the book, Connor has developed a greater understanding and compassion for those around him and taken a big step forward in the process of growing up. 404 pages; grades 5-8.
Pros: Hockey fans and dog lovers will enjoy this slice-of-life story of approximately a year in Conor’s life. He is a positive and resilient kids with a distinctive voice and caring heart.
Cons: 400+ pages is a lot for a story that tends to meander without any big climactic punch.