Thursday, August 6, 2009
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Age Group: Young Adult
My Rating: 4/5
Greg Harris is a seventeen-year-old growing up in New York. He loves basketball and loves to slam the ball into the hoop. Thus the nickname "Slam." Slam and his best friend, Ice, are a great one-two team on the court. But they won't be playing school ball together because they go to different schools.
Slam is a great athlete, but not so great in the classroom. And the principal knows that and warns him to pull grades up if he wants to play on the school team. Well, his grades are okay and he gets to play, but the head coach doesn't like him.
So Slam has to deal with a difficult coach, grades, a difficult home life, and a best friend that may be getting involved with bad things. Can he handle his life outside the court like he handles a ball?
This book won the Coretta Scot King Award, but I didn't know that the first time I read it. My teacher in 8th grade, Mrs. Donnelly, recommended it to me. One, because I loved basketball and two, she hoped that if the boys in class saw me reading this, they'll also read. Well, she accomplished goal number two because I remember letting a few classmates borrow the book.
Now, ten years later I re-read it and still love it. This is a fictional book, but it does feel real. Myers does an awesome job with weaving basketball life into real life. I didn't grow up in a hard neighborhood like Slam, but I was able to remember what it was like to be on a basketball team. The struggle between the coach favorite and the non-favorite. The want to be the best on the court, but also dealing with not-so-fun issues off the court. This book was relatable and a good book to read.
Read this book even if you're not into sports, but definitely give this book to a young adult that loves basketball. It incorporates the love for the game, but you also feel for the character. Go grab your fave tea or cup of joe and read it.