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Gr 9 Up-In this story of a teen who dreams of making it big in the NBA, Myers returns to the theme that has dominated much of his serious fiction: How can young black urban males negotiate the often-harsh landscape of their lives to establish a sense of identity and self-worth? Drew Lawson is a very good high school player who is staking his future on the wildly improbable chance that he will achieve professional stardom. He is not an outstanding student, and he feels that basketball is the only thing that lifts him above the ranks of the ordinary. As he surveys his Harlem neighborhood, he worries that if he does not succeed in sports, he will become like so many other young men he sees around him who continue to talk tough, but have stopped believing in themselves, and are betrayed by "the weakness in their eyes." Harlem itself is a looming presence in the novel: vibrant, exciting, dirty, dangerous, it is the only home that Drew has ever known and to a large extent it both defines and limits his outlook. Being no more or less insightful or articulate (or self-absorbed) than most 17-year-olds, he fails to connect with those adults who have overcome racism, bad luck, and their own missteps to find alternative ways to succeed. As always, Myers eschews easy answers, and readers are left with the question of whether or not Drew is prepared to deal with the challenges that life will inevitably hand him.-Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Harlem teen Drew Lawson thinks that he has the big-money skills for the NBA. Now a senior, he plans to play his best game, attract scouts, and earn a scholarship that will, he hopes, lead to the pros. Then his coach begins to favor a new, white player, and Drew struggles to overcome his anger and to maintain his drive. Basketball fans will love the long passages of detailed court action, and Myers extends the sports metaphors into Drew's own questions about the future possibilities for himself and his peers, particularly the struggling young men in his neighborhood, whom he sees as a bunch of guys in a game. They were falling behind every minute that passed, but they had lost interest in the score. Myers explores his themes with a veteran writer's skill. Passages that could have read as heavy-handed messages come across, instead, as the authentic thoughts of a strong, likable, African American teen whose anxieties, sharp insights, and belief in his own abilities will captivate readers of all backgrounds.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2008 Booklist