Friday, May 22, 2020

The Turnover

Lupica, Mike. The Turnover
May 12th 2020 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Lucas' father passed away when he was young, so all he has ever known is his college professor mother and his grandfather, Gramps. Gramps is there for dinner almost every night, although he has his own apartment, and he coaches Lucas' basketball team. They get along great, and Lucas not only loves his grandfather, but admires him very much. When he has a writing assignment to talk about an influential adult in his life, he picks Gramps. Gramps, however, is reluctant to talk about the past. Lucas' friend and teammate, Ryan, isn't a great writer, so asks Lucas to help him. Lucas asks Ryan questions and helps him take notes, but lets his friend know repeatedly that he will have to write up the paper in his own words. Lucas does some sleuthing about his grandfather, but doesn't find anything but a picture in one of his father's old text books. After some digging, he uncovers an unpleasant truth about an incident in college where his grandfather did some regrettable things. This causes a rift between the two. At the same time, the papers are turned in (Lucas, who loves to write, chooses another topic), and Ryan and Lucas are called in by their teacher because their papers sound the same. Ryan admits that he didn't change things, so Lucas essentially wrote the paper. Given what he found out about his grandfather, Lucas is horrified, and refuses to help Ryan anymore, causes a rift between the friends as well. When the situation with his grandfather's past turns up in the national news because of the teammate behind the scandal, his grandfather's coaching position is in jeopardy. Will Lucas be able to reconcile his grandfather's behavior, maintain his friendship with Ryan, and do well on the court?
Strengths: Lupica's books always include the most essential element of sports writing-- play by plays on the court. I never understand any of them, which makes them just right for my readers who want to read about basketball! Lupica also includes good female characters-- Ryan's mother is a great basketball player who steps in to coach and whose college videos make one boy say "I want to play like a girl". The highs and lows of a close relationship with a grandparent made me love this one, and the Important Life Lesson will make this palatable to adults who don't really want to read sports books.
Weaknesses: The relationship between the grandfather and grandson is great, but a bit belabored at the beginning of the book. Also, I am doubtful that adults like to read books with quite the dose of Good Citizenship that nearly every middle grade book seems to include these days.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing. Love the cover. Should probably buy two. This would make a great gift for a young basketball fan.

Ms. Yingling

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