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Anxious to distract his "overly" strict mother, twelve-year-old Stuart and his best friend, a girl named Mack, determine to fix her up with Mack's Uncle Joe.
Gr. 5-7. Twelve-year-old Stuart Ellis finds that his relationship with his single-parent mom is becoming increasingly prickly. When he is forced to quit the soccer team after he breaks a household rule, he asks his best friend, Mack, for help. Mack is a practical girl with a lot of common sense, but Stuart doesn't approve when she suggests that her uncle date Stuart's mom. Stuart counterstrikes by introducing his mother to his soccer coach, an eligible bachelor. Mom and the coach hit it off, leading to a reversal of Mom's no-soccer ruling. Things go wrong along the way, though, as Stuart finds himself in predicaments on and off the soccer field. The zing in this story comes from the well-drawn, believable characters. Hicks also provides plenty of accurately described soccer action and some funny lines. A few loose ends suggest a sequel, which should please the fans that Stuart and Mack will pick up with this entertaining effort.
As Hicks’s (I Smell Like Ham) spry story opens, 12-year-old Stuart is grounded yet again by Jamie, his over-protective single mother. The woman, according to her frustrated son, “presto-chango, sometime after his twelfth birthday, when he hadn’t been paying attention [had] turned into a fire-breathing, spying, interfering, cold-blooded dragon.” When he breaks another rule by accepting a ride in the car of his friend’s older brother, Jamie does what the boy considers unthinkable: decides he must temporarily quit his beloved soccer team. Stuart tells his best friend, a sage, endearingly eccentric girl named Mack, that it’s time to implement her plan to find a beau for Stuart’s mother, which will ideally distract her enough so that she’ll ease up on her son. With intermittently comical and poignant results, the plan backfires miserably. Mack’s idea of introducing Jamie to her uncle leads to a falling out between her and Stuart, and the boy’s idea of having his mom date his soccer coach alienates him from his teammates. The novel’s characters__–both young and old-come across as impressively convincing, as do the dialog among them and their relationships with each other. Hicks’s electric descriptions of soccer play will score extra points with fans of the sport. This tale entertains while delivering a thought-provoking message about parent-child communication and peer relationships.
School Library Journal
Grade 5-7–Stuart, 12, could make the Guinness Book of World Records for most-busted kid in middle school. His mom has an endless series of rules, and he can't seem to get away with anything. He's already grounded, and he's lost phone, computer, and video-game privileges. All that's left is soccer; when Mom threatens to make him quit the team, he decides to take action. Figuring that she'll have less time to obsess about him if she has a boyfriend, he plans to set her up with his soccer coach, but his scheme has unanticipated consequences both on and off the field. Hicks has an ear for the dialogue of middle schoolers, and a good feel for the sometimes rocky relationships between parents and early adolescents. Soccer fans will appreciate the exciting game action as well as the true-to-life interactions among the team members. A winning combination of sports and humor with a subtle message about personal responsibility.
|2||What's a Guy to Do?||7|
|3||Cleats, But No Helmets||18|
|6||Shake It Off||43|
|7||Period. End of Discussion||54|
|9||Lower Than Dirt||74|
|10||Nothing Left to Lose||82|
|11||A Good Thing or a Bad Thing?||94|
|12||Body Odor Bus||104|
|14||Awful, Even Worse, and Worse Still||125|
Posted September 23, 2010
No text was provided for this review.
Posted February 26, 2009
No text was provided for this review.