Lupica, Mike. Point Guard (Home Team #3)
March 28th 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young
Copy received from the publisher.
After the depress fests that were The Only Game and The Extra Yard, Point Guard is a huge relief. This book centers on Gus, whose family is from the Dominican Republic. His friends think that he should be more interested in baseball, but he's taken a real liking to basketball. The problem? His good friend Cassie, who is a crackerjack player on the girls' team, thinks the boys' team would offer her more of a challenge. Gus is okay with this... so why does it bother him? He has some good reasons-- Cassie beats out Teddy for a spot, and with her on the team, a lot of the focus is taken away from the team and put on the GIRL on the team. Cassie eventually picks up on his attitude, and the two have difficult moments on and off the court. Gus' sister Angela is very level headed about the whole matter and regularly slaps Gus around a bit, and he eventually is able to get himself together for the good of the team and of his friends. Add to the drama the mayor's son, who along with his father thinks that Walton shouldn't have so many immigrants, and you get a timely (but soon to be dated by mentions of Trump) and thought provoking basketball story.
Strengths: I loved that Cassie made the boys' team on her own merit, and that the boys acknowledged that she was really the best athlete at their school. This will rub some of my readers the wrong way, which they deserve! Hard to believe that over 40 years after Title IX we are still fighting this battle. Sigh. Good for Lupica for addressing it. Also, I'm very glad that the mood of this one was lighter. The other two books-- whew. Walton needs some serious counseling in the schools!
Weaknesses: Gus' constant rehashing of his feelings gets old pretty soon. I understand why it's there, but I just wanted to tell him to suck it up, buttercup.
What I really think: An improvement, but I wish that these were less message heavy and a little more fun.