Gr 4-6-A likable, well-drawn heroine stars in a story that focuses on the frustrations of a top-notch female athlete. Up till now, Bobby has always played basketball with boys. When sixth grade begins, Coach Briley allows her to try out for the boys' team, although his decision to reject her has obviously been made in advance. Without Bobby's knowledge, her friend Charlotte writes a letter to the school newspaper about the incident-and the war is on. The girls' basketball coach advises Bobby to join that team, and she reluctantly agrees. The tension builds until the girls challenge the boys to a game, which becomes a rallying cry for all the young women in the school. Jackson's smooth prose style and believable characters make this an enjoyable read. Bobby is a feisty girl who is balancing the confusion of early adolescence with her passion for basketball and the unfairness of male chauvinism. Her determination pulls her team together and helps them improve their skills, but the outcome of the challenge game remains realistic. A fine addition to the collection of girls' sports fiction, which already includes Thomas J. Dygard's Forward Pass (Morrow, 1989).-Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ
The only girl accepted in the summer basketball program, 12-year-old Bobbie thinks she's good enough to play on the boys' team at school. But she's not prepared for the negative reactions she gets when she announces her intentions--including the reaction of her summer friend and teammate Les, who feels threatened by Bobbie's superior skills. When chauvinistic Coach Briley humiliates her by forcing her to play her brother in a game of one-on-one and then accuses her of cheating, Bobbie is furious. She is also hurt that her brother and the other boys don't defend her. The injustice of her treatment galvanizes the female students into action, and the coach of the girls' team challenges the boys' team to a game. The girls lose, but they gain the respect of Coach Briley and the boys, and they've pulled their team together so effectively that Bobbie decides the girls' team may not be a poor second choice after all.