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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Hot Hand: Mike Lupica's Comeback Kids* by Mike Lupica- young readers fantasy book review
Also by Mike Lupica:

Two-Minute Drill: Mike Lupica's Comeback Kids

Hot Hand: Mike Lupica's Comeback Kids
by Mike Lupica
Ages 9-12 176 pages Philomel September 2007 Hardcover    

Billy Raynor is your everyday ten-year-old - except that he is not. Billy loves to shoot when he plays basketball, much to the annoyance of his coach, who wants him to pass more often. The problem becomes complicated when Billy’s coach is also his father. Billy’s parents are going through a trial separation, and his dad has moved out.

Sportswriter Mike Lupica’s new series for middle-schoolers gets off to a rollicking start in Hot Hand. Billy and his friend, Lenny DiNardo, are the best players on the Magic, a recreational basketball team at the local YMCA. The two friends want to have an undefeated season and strive hard for it. Joe Raynor, Billy’s dad, is an old-school coach (interestingly, the book’s foreword is written by Larry Brown, who is as old school a coach as they come!) who wants even ten-year-olds to be disciplined on the court. As they go through the ebb and flow of the basketball season, Lupica brings to front-center the relationship between a father and his son.

Interspersed between Billy’s weekly games and practices are the travails of a family whose parents have separated. Mom Lynn Raynor is a busy albeit extremely supportive and understanding lawyer whose job involves travel. Billy’s younger brother, Ben, is a piano prodigy who unfortunately feels that his father does not appreciate his music talent. In the midst of all this, young Ben is picked on by a school bully, and Billy’s attempts to help his brother go awry.

Lupica captures youth recreational basketball perfectly; its cadences and eddies just roll out smoothly and plausibly on the pages. The family ambience adds to the tension, which becomes palpable in the riveting climax. In Billy Raynor, middle-school readers will find both a hero and a schoolmate. His courage in solving life’s little (and big) predicaments can serve as an inspiration to them.

Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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  Ram Subramanian/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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