Published by First Second
Summary: Lori’s just starting out in basketball, but she’s determined to become better. Although her play is mostly limited to the exhibition “Fifth Quarter”, she has a pretty good shot and is interested in improving all her skills. Extra lessons and a summer camp program pay off when she gets chosen for the fifth grade travel team. She learns some valuable personal lessons through ups and downs with teammates and friends. A subplot about her mom’s run for town council teaches her about determination and a willingness to keep going in the face of loss. The story ends in the middle of a game and will be continued in The Fifth Quarter: Hard Court, release date not yet announced. 240 pages; grades 3-6.
Pros: One can hardly go wrong with the sports/graphic novel combination, and this is sure to find a big following. I’m always happy to find a book with a fourth grade protagonist, as they are vastly outnumbered in the middle-grade universe by fifth, sixth, and seventh graders. And Lori is very much a fourth-grader who doesn’t always understand the consequences of her actions (and that it’s not always all about her), but who tries hard to learn from her mistakes.
Cons: I was fine with Lori’s thick black eyebrows, but her dad’s looked like he had two pieces of black duct tape stuck to his forehead.