Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Lizzy Legend

Smith, Matthew Ross. Lizzy Legend
January 8th 2019 by Aladdin
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Lizzy lives in an impoverished neighborhood near Philadelphia, and is a fantastic basketball player. She practices an insane amount, and has made a name for herself. When she tries out for her school team, she's sure she'll make it, but when bully Tank and her friend Toby make it but she does not, she is not pleased. She talks to the coach, who is sympathetic and recognizes her skill (which she shares with her father, who was a great player until he was injured), but tells her that girls can't play on the boys' team and vice versa. She still has hopes, and after recieving an odd telephone call that grants her a wish, she wishes that she would make all the baskets she tries for the rest of her life. Soon, every shot she tries is "pure swish". After seeing her in action, the coach decides she can play after all, and Toby goes with her to see the manager of the Philadelphia Bells basketball team (which, in the story, did not seem like a women's team) under the guise of touring the arena as part of a Make A Wish scheme. The team wants to sign her right away, and before she knows it, she's wearing an oversized jersey and facing the prospect of going head to head with her idol, LeBron James. When she accidentally reverses the wish right before a big game, will her own skills be enough to carry the day?
Strengths: This is a fun fantasy novel of basketball and wish fulfillment. I liked that Toby (who is black and from a much better neighborhood) and Lizzy are good friends, and that Lizzy's father, while struggling, is still a supportive and helpful parent. Lizzy's mother had passed away, but the two have managed to make their way. The brushes with basketball greatness are amusing, and I'm assuming that the players named are real people.
Weaknesses: There were some things in the book that were unexplained or seemed forced. It seems likely that there are rules about co ed teams, but then why was Lizzy suddenly allowed on the boys' team? Lizzy's describes her neighborhood has having drug dealers wandering casually about, but she is out playing basketball at 5 a.m.? Most of the story was fine, but there were moments that caused me to pause and wonder what was going on.
What I really think: I have a huge need for more books about girls playing sports, so will purchase this for my library. I just wish it were more realistic.

Ms. Yingling

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