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Boost

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Overview

Thirteen-year-old Savvy is six two and full of raw basketball talent; her three-point shot is deadly. But she’s also skinny and gets pushed around on the court. Her older sister, Callie, is a freshman on varsity cheerleading, but she’s not quite light enough to be a flier—her coveted position. Both girls need to boost their level of competition to get off the bench and into the action. When steroids are found in Savvy’s gym bag, she claims they are not hers. Suddenly, ...

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Boost

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Overview

Thirteen-year-old Savvy is six two and full of raw basketball talent; her three-point shot is deadly. But she’s also skinny and gets pushed around on the court. Her older sister, Callie, is a freshman on varsity cheerleading, but she’s not quite light enough to be a flier—her coveted position. Both girls need to boost their level of competition to get off the bench and into the action. When steroids are found in Savvy’s gym bag, she claims they are not hers. Suddenly, accusations are flying and nobody knows who is telling the truth.

When it comes to competitive sports, no one is exempt from being offered a boost.

Read Kathy Mackel's posts on the Penguin Blog.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Claire Rosser
This is a sports story that has many aspects to it: it's about a family's difficult relocation; it's about sister rivalry; it's about a false accusation; it's about a talented basketball player, a girl, who is 13 years old and already over six feet tall. The author has written numerous books previously; she is a softball coach who has played a variety of varsity sports, including basketball. Savvy (Savannah) is adjusting to the family's move across the country this summer by being totally involved in fiercely competitive basketball, even pushing to play on a team of mostly high school players. She makes friends and some "enemies" and is just trying to improve her game. Meanwhile, her sister Callie isn't having such an easy time of it. She is depressed, puts on weight, and nearly misses being chosen for the cheerleading squad. There is one tall-enough boy around, and he plays basketball too, so Savvy has a bit of a crush on him; she is really hurt when she sees he likes her only as a friend, and that he wants to date Callie. Savvy is working so hard on the farm where they now live she is developing some noticeable muscles. When someone finds some steroids in her gym bag in the locker room, Savvy is accused of using them to get stronger and is suspended from the team. Callie's body has changed too: she is thinner and stronger. Who has gotten an illegal "boost," if anyone? The New England setting is believable, as are the secondary characters; and the plot is not just about Savvy—Mackel draws her readers into the whole family, the neighborhood, the teams, the competition, and the outrage. An excellent YA novel, sure to appeal to any young person interested in sports. Reviewer: ClaireRosser
VOYA - Florence H. Munat
Fourteen-year-old Savvy Christopher's one passion is playing basketball. She is six feet two and growing, with court skills that promise to vault her into an elite class of players. But first she must cope with many difficult adjustments, including a new town, team, friends, and economic status. Her father was a golf star who, through the PGA tour, provided his family with a comfortable life and luxury home in New Mexico. But after a career-ending injury, he fell into bankruptcy. Savvy, her parents, and older sister Callie move to their father's aunt's sheep farm in Rhode Island. Callie is fearful and insecure in her new life, although she earns a spot on the cheering squad and has a popular boyfriend before school even starts. Savvy and her new friend Gonzo try out for an under-eighteen basketball team and surprisingly make the roster-along with some less-than-friendly older players. As long as she has basketball, Savvy endures the taunts of junior high classmates about her height, the demanding farm work, and sharing a bedroom with Callie. But when a steroid called Winstrol is discovered in her gym bag, her basketball life is threatened. This novel offers a realistic picture of girls who are serious and passionate about sports as well as an examination of the pressure to win and be the best-but at what cost? Although initially the plot jerks around a bit, Savvy's story eventually emerges as a strong and human portrait of how a person can be true to self and still be a successful athlete. Reviewer: Florence H. Munat
School Library Journal

Gr 6-9

Savvy Christopher and her older sister, Callie, each have their own "one thing," and when they move from Arizona to Rhode Island, that's what they rely on to help them adjust. Savvy quickly shows her stuff when, not yet in high school, she is accepted on the elite 18-and-under basketball team. Callie's passion is cheerleading, but stress has caused her to gain weight, and she is devastated to find that she no longer qualifies to be one of the fliers on the squad at her new school. She goes on a strict exercise and diet regime, and Savvy, realizing how quickly her sister is losing weight, brings it to the attention of their parents. They put a stop to Callie's use of over-the-counter diet aids, which does nothing to improve the already strained relationship between the sisters. In October, one of Savvy's basketball games is interrupted by a detective who has been alerted to a bag of steroids in her locker. She insists that they are not her pills, but the fact that she has been on prednisone for a bad case of poison ivy does not help her case. Savvy and her coach are temporarily suspended, and Savvy finds that even close friends regard her innocence with some doubt. As with Mad Cat (HarperCollins, 2005), Mackel has turned a tough subject in the world of teen competitive sports into a highly readable blend of intense action, interfamily relationships, and intrigue. Readers will come away with a better understanding of the controversy surrounding steroid use, and with an appreciation for a talented voice in young adult literature.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

Kirkus Reviews
Against the odds, 13-year-old, 6'2" Savvy, the psychologically tough heroine of Mackel's engrossing story, makes it onto a competitive basketball team for older girls. To boost her level of proficiency so that she can battle the more experienced players, she must practice, and practice hard. Besides the pressure of basketball, Savvy, whose family has had to move from their large house in New Mexico to an aunt's sheep farm in Rhode Island, must begin a new school and help her injured aunt with the sheep. It's a demanding schedule, and Savvy is determined to meet all challenges. But her biggest test in this basketball novel, which features play-by-play action and deals empathetically with both the pleasure and pressure of athletic competition, comes when her integrity is called into question with accusations of steroid use. Although the author tries to muddy the waters with an undercooked subplot that involves possible past malfeasance on the part of Savvy's coach, the final revelation is heavily foreshadowed, making the most surprising thing how readily Savvy forgives. (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142415399
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/10/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 140,488
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 5.62 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathy Mackel lives in Pepperell, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 50 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(39)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

    As a basketball player myself, I found this book extraordinary. I couldn't put this book down! People who aren't really into basketball should still read the book because it's more about how much she loves the game and what she will do to get better. One other point of the book is steroid usage. I would recommend this book to anybody who has passion for something. Hope you found my review helpful :)

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2011

    EXTREME HEART RACING BOOK

    Boost by Kathy Mckal is a blood rushing book about a young teen that wants to boost her game.
    Savvy Christopher has to shoot one more shot to go to the three point line. She gets the balls and focuses and shoots. Swish! Savvy is always on the court almost never puts her basketball down. Savvy has just moved from New Mexico to Rhode Island and a week later she is back on the court. The coach walks over to her and tells her she is on the team but she picks up her bags and walks to the high school team. Savvy is 6¿5 and weighs 150 pounds, she can bench 130 pounds.
    Savvy makes the high school team and all the team is mad because she is so young. The coach is tougher on Savvy than any of the girls on the team not even the practice team does as much work as Savvy. After the first two games Savvy makes the starting team. At first she is happy but the other players were really mad Savvy made the star center sit the bench.
    I think this author did an excellent time on this book I would recommend this book to people who like basketball or young minds. I personally do not like to read but this is the first book that I have never put down I give the author a thumbs up for this lovely book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2011

    LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!!

    Wow! I really loved this book. Maybe it was just because there are very few books about girl basketball players and since i happen to love basketball this book was right up my alley!!! I recommend this to any basketball player! Great balance of basketball, family, and love

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2012

    Boost: Boost is about this young 14 year old girl and her family

    Boost: Boost is about this young 14 year old girl and her family. Savvy Christopher is the narrator in this story. Savvy recently just moved from her old home in New Mexico to a new state, with no friends, and a completely new team. Savvy moves to the town so she can try out for the Elite Basketball team. There was only one try-out for this team and she wanted it.!
    Savvy is only in the 8th grade, and pushing 6 foot 2. There are 3 elite basketball teams. !4U, 16U, and 18U. Savvy is a stud. She doesn't even want to play for the 14U, so she goes straight to 16U. After rough practice, she finally decides to move up even farther and play with all the seniors. She joins the 18U. After strict drills that her coach puts her through and tells her to do she finally earns the starting position at center. (benching one of the older girls) Because of this, she makes some enemies. She also creates some foes by facing them on the court. and making them look bad, playing a 14 year old... There is one other 14 year old on the 18U team. She is an all-star named 'Gonzo'. Savvy and Gonzo decide to become friends from the start and have a tight friendship.
    Savvy is ready to play in the championship game, her teams been winning a lot recently and they have a great chance of making it to the championship game. in the pool play, an anonymous tip told an officer that Savvy was packing steroids. Read to find out if this is how savvy 'really' boosts her game, and if she can get herself out of trouble. I loved this book, getting to read about her home problems, relationship problems, and sports problems all in one just tied this book together. I would for sure give this book a 4 out of 5.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2012

    Boost is about this young 14 year old girl savvy and her family

    Boost is about this young 14 year old girl savvy and her family. Savvy recently just moved from her old home in New Mexico to a new state, with no friends at all , and has to play on a whole completely new team. Savvy moves to the town so she can try out for the Elite Basketball team. Savvy is only in the 8th grade, and she is one tall girl way to to but that would be good for her and her playing basketball and all but over all savvy is 6 foot 2.
    In the town that she is in there are 3 elite basketball teams. the 4U, the 16U, and last but not least the 18U team. savvy doesn't want to play for the 14U, so she goes straight to 16U. but then after a rough practice, she finally decides to move up even farther and play with the seniors. so she goes and try's out for the 18U, which she had made the team. After some hard drills during practice, the drills that her coach puts her through and tells her to do gives her the earnings so the starting position at center. Savvy makes some enemies. she also made some enemies because she was making the teams she went up against look bad, playing a 14 year old... There is one other 14 year old on the 18U team. She is an all-star named 'Gonzo'. Savvy and Gonzo decide to become friends from the start and have a tight friendship. in the pool play some one gave the referee an antonymous till that savvy had steroids. no this i don't know about you might want to read the book to find out what happens with savvy
    i liked this book because like i really like have grown to like basketball now and its one of my favorite spots now and i think that the author did a great job on hooking me on into the book i could barely put it down. and really think that everyone should read this book because it has like everything in it suspense, drama, obsession, and challenges and all that great stuff. so every one read this amazing book. last thing if i were to give this a book a rating between the sclae from 1 to 10, 10 being the best i would give it 9.8405

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2012

    Great Book!!!

    This is the story of a girl who loves basketball. Her family has moved into a new town, but she already found a friend at basketball. Her main problem is that steroids are found in her gym bag, and she knows she didn't do it. I liked how this book had a strong base in basketball, and it was also good because it had a mix of other things like cheerleading, dating, and many other things. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes sports, or just wants a good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2011

    Bri bri

    I really loved this book! The author did a great job on writting it. An i love basketball, so this was the right book for me. :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2014

    Love it

    I love this book.. im really into this book.. i love basketball and i know exactly whats this girl is going thru

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    Eh

    I thought this book would be really good since i love and play basketball. It wasnt great but it wasnt bad either. It was just eh.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2013

    Love basketball

    Good book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2013

    Boost,A Story of Love,Hope,and Inspiration

    Kathy Mackle is an abosoulte brilliant writer. Savvanah,moves into a new state and learns to adjust to her envoirnment and learns to accept the responsibilty she is now given. She shows that rumors and lies can be overwhelming upon its victims,but it can be overcome. The main charchter Savvy shows forgivness is key and trust is limited......

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013

    Age

    What age us this book intended for?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    MYLA13 HERE? ADVICE

    So, do any of live in vermont. Maybe colchester,vt. Because i go to the colchester middle school. Of yes great then maybe we can be friends. Anyways i love to play basketball. It is my favorite sport, well my second favorite. This book was amazing. It taught me to never give up and to challenge your self to go aganist people who are bigger, taller and faster. But watch out, i am pretty fast. I did crosscountry and i got 8th place. And i am only in 6th grade. Anyways if have any issues. Write them down here or on the book Chasing Redbird. Also i will give you basketball tips.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2012

    I love this book

    Very very good book i was soooo sad when i was done reading it!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2012

    I loved this book!!!! I love basketball and this book had me hoo

    I loved this book!!!! I love basketball and this book had me hooked right away. I read it in less than a day. I couldn't put it down.

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  • Posted March 15, 2012

    Boost, written by Kathy Mackel, is an amazing book to read. It c

    Boost, written by Kathy Mackel, is an amazing book to read. It combines almost every aspect of a teens life into one, 248 paged book. Savvy 13, soon to turn 14 years old, moves to a new home, and a new school. Her passion is basketball, and happens to be mine as well, which is definitely one reason why I found this book so interesting. Savvy is already over 6ft tall and in her new town, tries out for a prestigious 18 and up club team. To her, and her new teammate’s surprise, she makes it. Although she made the team, she now has to try and fit in, and make new friends in high school, which can be quite hard when you are over 6ft above the ground, and a girl! She also has a sister, that has been doing some illegal things, and Savvy gets blamed. These are some of the many adversities she will have to fight through in her new town, as well as liking a boy, who doesn't like her back, but, likes her sister! Almost every one of these hardships are what most teens will have to deal with sometime in high school, even if your sport isn't basketball, or if it’s not your height that people criticize. This author’s writing style is also very easy to read because she is able to portray how a teenager would really act, and sound, perfectly. I was able to really get engrossed in the book, even from the first chapter, because of the story line, and how much I found that I could relate to the main character, Savvy. She has strong tough, personality, but can definitely be a real girl when she wants and needs to be. Also, Savvy's desire to become better in basketball inspired me a little because she worked so hard to get better, and it showed me how much my game had to improve. The basketball aspect of this book is very realistic and really shows how competitive sports can get. I recommend this book to anyone who plays sports, and wants an exciting story that they can easily relate to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012

    My View of the Book

    It was great. Good beginning, middle and end. Stayed on subject very well. Good grammar use. Good sentence structure. Out of a 1.3 to 4.0. I would give it a 3.99

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    *****

    Loved this book. I hav read it about 2 times already and i am planning on reading it again!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    A Great Read

    This is the most amazing book ever. Both myself and my friend read this book my friend does not play basketball but still fully understood the book and it gave me a greater understanding of staroids and the harmful things they can do to your body. I love this book possibly 1 of the best books i,ve ever read (and ive read alot)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2011

    This book is......

    An awesome and heartfelt sorty about peer peresure.

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