Sunday, July 8, 2007

Rucker Park Setup - Paul Volponi

Paul Volpini writes great books. Black and White, his first novel was pretty much perfection mixing basketball with friendship, race, and the justice system. The kids in the juvenile detention center loved it. LOVED it.There are some books they ask for over and over and that is one of them. I thought Rooftop, his next novel, was a solid book, but I didn't enjoy it as much. And so I'm glad that he went back to basketball for his third novel.

Mackey and J.R. are best friends. They've grown up together, live in the same building, and play ball together, and have complete confidence that they'll be playing ball together someday in the Rucker Park Tournament. Turns out they're right. They both get picked up by a team sponsored by a big time rapper and their team is moving it's way up to the finals. But things go wrong. A bet is made. It goes sour. J.R. gets killed. Mackey knows what happened. What he doesn't know, is what he's going to do about it.

This is a book your teen boys will fight each other to read. The basketball action is fast, dramatic, and engrossing, and there is a ton of it. The writing is fantastic and the story's got a great moral dilemma - will Mackey step up or will he fail his dead friend? They're going to eat this one up like it's ice cream.

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