While attending a high-profile basketball camp, T.J. begins to re-think both his motivations and his actions in guiding his learning-disabled but athletically-gifted friend through the college recruitment process.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Grade 9 UpABennett hits again from beyond the arc in this introspective tale about the recruitment of high school players at Full Court, an elite downstate Illinois summer basketball camp. T.J. Nucci, a Marlboro-smoking junior, loafs until the night he uses his brains to play the best game of his life, helping his team win the championship. Meanwhile, on a footbridge that crosses a gorge to a fundamentalist Christian church camp on the other side, T.J. meets a pregnant teenager and disses her belief in the biblical rapture. After her suicide, he reexamines his life, goals, and ambitions. This is a sophisticated book for mature readers. Expletives are integrated realistically and are not excessive. The depth of the moral quagmire that surrounds college recruiting is suggested by T.J.'s complex friendship with Tyron, a huge basketball talent whose low IQ impedes his dreams of a big-time college career. T.J. rides on his bud's coattails to a point, but it is his desire to control things, especially his own destiny, that drives the plot. In the process, T.J. interacts with a well-rounded cast of adults including his mother, an inquisitive local newspaper reporter, his high school counselor, as well as the "street agents" and coaches at the camp who bend and break the rules intended to keep the playing field level. A final confrontation with Sister Simone, the church camp counselor whom T.J. believes could have prevented LuAnn's suicide, is particularly revelatory. A slim, challenging, disquieting, and finally hopeful read.AJoel Shoemaker, Southeast Jr. High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
A week of basketball camp sparks deep changes in a high-school junior's outlook, but readers may wonder why, so sparely written and roughly constructed is this story from Bennett (The Squared Circle, 1995, etc.). T.J. isn't looking too hard at just who's paying for him and his 6' 9'' friend, Tyron, to attend camp; after all, a coach from North State has already made overtures, in direct violation of NCAA rules. Believing that Tyron is a hot enough prospect that colleges might overlook his severe learning disability, T.J. devotes himself to keeping his friend away from the ``street agents'' and their freebies. Then, sneaking out for a smoke, T.J. meets LuAnn, a pregnant young woman from the Christian camp nearby; something in her talk of blindly trusting God's will draws him to a sermon by her preacher, Sister Simone. Tragedy follows hard on triumph; during a camp championship game, T.J. finds the inner fire he had lacked, then learns that LuAnn is dead, a suicide who had been suffering from depression, encouraged to substitute faith for medication. Bennett awkwardly tucks a few expletives into the dialogue, patly introduces a character to fill T.J. in on clinical depression, finally drops Tyron (who, from an author known for his sensitive portrayals of mentally and emotionally disturbed characters, comes off as a buffoon) completely, and draws only a tenuous connection between LuAnn's story and T.J.'s. He also leaves plotlines unresolved, neglects to develop a clear climax, and is skimpy with sports action. (Fiction. 12-15) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 1998. Board book. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0689815808