Bildner, Phil. Rookie of the Year
July 12th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Rip and Red are back after A Whole New Ballgame. They are still with Mr. Acevedo, who still has them doing a lot of reading and discussing of topics. When new student Takara (Tiki) Eid shows up, the class is thrown into turmoil. Tiki is very loud and outspoken, makes up lots of words, and has trouble taking her turn when speaking in class. She decides that the Lunch Bunch, the cafeteria ladies who used to work at the school but were replaced when a new food service took over, should be brought back, and that the sub par food must be fixed. She gets Avery really interested in the project, and installs a video camera on Avery's wheelchair. Rip knows that they are flaunting the school rules, but he has a lot going on. Tiki also shows up on his basketball team and is really good... and Rip gets put on the bench and used on the second team. Red is slowly improving his interactions with others, but he, too, has problems dealing with Tiki. When the group gets in trouble for the cafeteria incident, there are consequences that include Mr. Acevedo as well.
Strengths: Lots of basketball in this one, which I need desperately. I liked how the team was coed. Tiki was an interesting character, and the type of student I see from time to time, and seeing her backstory and how the other students interact with her is fun. This book managed to have a fresh take on school problems in a humorous and fast paced way. Very much appreciated.
Weaknessess: If anything, this is overly multicultural and almost felt forced. It probably just felt that way because my school is in a rather homogeneous community.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing, and this will see a lot of use.