Toni decides she’s not going to show up to practice until Coach Wise apologizes. She cuts herself off from her friends on the team and retreats into her drawings. Meanwhile, the child center her brother worked at closes and he’s frustrated with his new job. Can Toni pick herself up again despite all of these setbacks?
I fell unexpectedly in love with this book — first, I loved how upset I was with Toni and her slate of irrational yet somewhat justified decisions. Its lyricism also surprised me. I’m used to sports novellas like these being all story or fairly wooden dialogue, but dang, this one has real heart to it. I highlighted lines like, “The sun is fat and yellow as it rolls up a cloudless sky, a glob of paint on a clean palette.”
Issues with comprehension
There are some jumps in location and in time that come unannounced and are hard to track. There’s a chapter that takes place in the past and shows Toni’s experience in foster care. At other times, it is hard to track where Toni is or when the characters move from one location to another. I think a slightly longer book or some sharper editing with more setting and time clues could have taken care of these issues.
A modular series about characters on a sports team written by a black man? Hello, readalike to Jason Reynolds’ Track series!
I loved this book – I will pass along to my eighth grade readers to see if their enthusiasm matches mine.