Walters, Eric. Rebound
2000, Stoddard Kids (Canada)
Sean is entering 8th grade after a really rough 7th grade year. He and his friend Scott got in lots of trouble, and the new year is supposed to be better, but before the first bell even rings, he's gotten into a knock down fight with a new kid David. The kicker? David started the fight... and he's in a wheelchair. Because the assistant principal hears conflicting accounts of the fight, he decides not to suspend Sean, but instead Sean is assigned to be David's "host". David is in the wheelchair as a result of a car accident, and is rather bitter about it. He played basketball, a love which he shares with Sean, who is trying to get up his grades and make the team. The two find that they get along well, and work together on a science project. David is a little more outgoing than Sean when it comes to talking to girls and helps Sean get up the nerve to talk to Caroline. Sean doesn't quite understand why David does stupid things like try to go down stairs in his wheelchair, so David suggests that Sean try an outing to the mall in a wheelchair so he can understand a little. Sean enjoys his success in school that David's help brings, and distances himself from Scott and the other friends who caused him to get into trouble.
Strengths: Found this gem at Half Price books. I have a couple of basketball books by this author and like them. Even though this is an older title, it stands up well and will be fantastic for the language arts unit on challenges. There's plenty of basketball, good characters, and middle school boys who mean well but don't always make good choices. Very excited about finding this one!
Weaknesses: A few Canadian phrases, like "seveners" for 7th graders, that students might have trouble with, but the book even has an Accelerated Reader test!
Basketball books are really hard to find. I shouldn't be this excited about a 13 year old Canadian book!