Basketball (or Something Like It)

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Overview

Basketball clinics, a revolving door of coaches, incensed parents, and the importance of the right sneakers—is that what the game is about? Told from the perspective of four unlikely friends, Nora Raleigh Baskin's poignant novel focuses on the action, drama, and fun of playing ball and explores what it takes to be a winner of the game—both on the court and off.

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Basketball (or Something Like It)

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Overview

Basketball clinics, a revolving door of coaches, incensed parents, and the importance of the right sneakers—is that what the game is about? Told from the perspective of four unlikely friends, Nora Raleigh Baskin's poignant novel focuses on the action, drama, and fun of playing ball and explores what it takes to be a winner of the game—both on the court and off.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Anyone who has experienced the pressures of being a part of a traveling sports team can identify with the characters in this contemporary novel set in an affluent community. Here, Baskin (What Every Girl [Except Me] Knows) spotlights three members (and the little sister of a fourth) of the not-so-successful North Bridge Panthers, a sixth-grade travel basketball team, who express their worries and hopes both on and off the court in alternating third-person narratives. Some team members, like Hank, play ball mostly to please their parents. Others, like Jeremy (who lives with his grandmother after being abandoned by his father) and Nathan (whose uncle turned to drugs after playing pro ball) set out to prove something to themselves by joining the team. Then there's Anabel, a gifted basketball player herself, who sits in the bleachers and offers readers a wider perspective through her observations of some rather nasty exchanges among players, refs, coaches and parents. Enduring a series of humiliating losses, a string of coaches who quit or are fired, and irate mothers and fathers, the North Bridge team gets little opportunity to improve their skills, but they do learn something about friendship, trust and loyalty during the course of the season. Without coming off as heavy-handed, this highly accessible novel takes a hard, honest look at society's obsession with sports and its effect on young athletes. The author's gentle criticism of elitist leagues, coaching ethics and overzealous parents will leave a lasting impression on readers. Ages 9-12. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Many young basketball players will relate to this story about parents living vicariously through their children's athletic endeavors. In alternating chapters, four sixth graders tell their own stories about how sports affects their lives. Hank is made miserable by the pressure and expectations placed on him by his parents. Nathan desperately wants to play and lies in order to try out for the team because his father's agenda doesn't include sports. Annabel is brushed aside by her father, whose focus is on her brother and his playing time. Jeremy, the best player on the team, has been dumped at his grandmother's by his father's girlfriend. The day these four find themselves in detention together, where they learn about one another's situations, is the turning point of the novel. In the final game of the season, Jeremy's plan to run away is thwarted by a true gesture of friendship from Hank. Hank's parents make an unrealistic turnabout, admiring their son's plot to sit the bench so Jeremy can play. Nathan and his family reconcile their differences about sports, and Annabel becomes the star of the girl's high school basketball team. Even though the plot is predictable, the author's point comes through loud and clear.-Julie Webb, Shelby County High School, Shelbyville, KY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sixth-graders Hank, Nathan, Jeremy, and Anabel form a lasting friendship over the course of the North Bridge Sixth Grade Travel Basketball season, the setting for this school sports story. Perhaps it is the distance of the third-person narrative that keeps each of these characters from coming alive, or perhaps it is their stock situations: Hank's parents live for their son's sports success; Nathan isn't any good; Jeremy is a star, but unhappy in his new home with his grandmother; and Anabel's family ignores her talents in favor of her brother's. The influence of adults on pre-teen athletics is as much the subject as basketball itself. Although believable, the message takes over, to the detriment of plot and character development. The framing news article helps flesh out Anabel's story, but the last chapter, explaining what happened right up into their senior year, seems tacked on. Readers might want more about the games, but those who play on sports teams will recognize these characters and be rooting for them. (Fiction 10-12)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Takes on everything from overequipped, overtrained grade schoolers to parent coaches who promote their own kids while benching the talent.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Takes on everything from overequipped, overtrained grade schoolers to parent coaches who promote their own kids while benching the talent."
Booklist
“This is a surefire hit—a sports book with a larger focus, told in an original way.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“Takes on everything from overequipped, overtrained grade schoolers to parent coaches who promote their own kids while benching the talent.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Takes on everything from overequipped, overtrained grade schoolers to parent coaches who promote their own kids while benching the talent.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060596118
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/18/2005
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 176
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

Nora Raleigh Baskin is the author of What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows, Almost Home, and Basketball (or Something Like It). She grew up in Brooklyn and New Paltz, New York, and currently lives in Connecticut with her husband and two sons.

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First Chapter

Basketball (or Something Like It)

Chapter One

The Clinics

Hank heard everything while he was brushing his teeth, getting ready for bed. His parents were downstairs talking about him, again. And basketball. Again.

"Don't think they don't do it on purpose," Hank's dad was saying.

Clanking and clinking.

"That's ridiculous." His mother's reply.

Hank could hear their voices moving around the kitchen and into the living room and back. His mother was cleaning up from dinner, which explained the clanking and clinking.

"Why else would they schedule this basketball clinic at the same time as soccer? And don't think they didn't know about the soccer playoffs. Because they do."

Turning the tap water on didn't drown out their voices. Hank stared at himself in the mirror, his mouth foamy with toothpaste. "So call somebody and complainThis was his mother's brilliant suggestion.

"Somebody! Like who? Like Joel Bischoff? If Hank misses all the clinics and screws up at the tryout, who do you think is going to look better?"

"Who?"

"Who? Are you kidding? His own son, that's who."

Upstairs, Hank spit toothpaste into the sink. It couldn't have been better timing. He felt like spitting. He imagined his parents could see him, only it wasn't the sink, it was the floor. Right in front of their faces. He imagined they would stop, stop talking about him all the time. Stop talking about basketball or baseball or whatever season and whatever sport they felt Hank should be getting more playing time in playing a better position.

"You mean Tyler Bischoff?" Hank's mother asked, and answered her own question. "Hank is five times better than Tyler Bischoff. Ten times."

His father was silent. Hank figured he was making that face. That face that says, "Isn't it obvious?"

As in, isn't it obvious that Joel Bischoff would want Hank Adler to miss all the pre-tryout clinics and screw up completely and be cut from the travel basketball team so that his kid would have a better chance? And that that is obviously why he scheduled the clinics for Wednesday nights. Soccer night.

Hank's parents had the conspiracy theory down to an art.

"Well, somebody should say something," Hank's mother said again, but a little more quietly. Then he heard his mother's determined footsteps leave the room.

Oh God, Hank thought. He felt a headache coming on. No, he definitely had a headache already. He knew just what his mother was going to do. And Hank knew, even if his mother didn't, that that was exactly what his father wanted. She was going to call "somebody." Probably not Tyler Bischoff's dad, who was on the basketball board, but somebody. Somebody's mom maybe, and get them all worked up. Maybe two or three other select moms from the soccer team. And then she'd go in for the kill.

He wasn't sure how it worked exactly, because she did all her heavy phone calling during school hours. She even had one of those headsets that strapped around her head and plugged into her ear, like she worked for the Secret Service ...

Basketball (or Something Like It). Copyright © by Nora Baskin. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 8 of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    vg

    wow!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    Good book

    This is a good book its interesting how it all plays out. P.s. hi em i found out caitlin lied to me makes me really mad about that i got your lend me request and i said yes any way when do you get ungrounded? And one last thing i wouldnt worry if eric breaks crystals detacate heart i wold not worry unless she appoliges and we are friends then i will worrie.

    1 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2010

    gggggggffhfgfggggggggggggggftrtyuhhjkjjiuijijijiuiyuvydwwaemjhhhhbhbhwferjdfujijirjijifdiruhfdhhrhgtygretgggggggg3wtgt33gyy4u4ugg4bbh325kj3i4jijmijjkji3jrjjwur4hut5ij54ij4ijuu45etgvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

    h

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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