Game (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Game (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

4.4 21
by Walter Dean Myers

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Editorial Reviews

Leonard S. Marcus
At the center of this lean first-person narrative is Drew, an athletically gifted African-American teenager with plummy visions of a college scholarship and N.B.A. superstardom…The tautly choreographed game sequences that punctuate Drew's story bristle with the electricity of the sport while serving to track the hero's transformation from dicey wild card to on-point team player. Off court, the action is equally telling.
—The New York Times
High school senior Drew Lawson loves the game of basketball. He realizes that basketball is his ticket to college and possibly a future in the NBA. The game also shields Drew from the negative and sometimes dangerous influences that he sees all around him on the streets of Harlem. Drew must keep his cool during his senior year, however, when Coach Hauser begins to favor Tomas, a white player from Prague. Drew and Tomas develop an interesting dynamic of friendship and rivalry as the team progresses toward the state regional championship. In the end, Drew is able to showcase his skills and fulfill his dream of earning a scholarship to an excellent basketball school. This novel does not cover any new territory, and Drew is an unexciting protagonist. The threats to Drew's future never fully materialize, and Coach Hauser's motives for favoring Tomas are never made clear. The stories of secondary characters, such as Tomas and Drew's sister, Jocelyn, seem worth telling. There is little tension as the novel limps toward its predictable conclusion. On the positive side, it is a quick read, and reluctant readers might be willing to pick it up. Myers is definitely adept at writing about the game action, and sports fans will appreciate this aspect of the book. Purchase where the author's better efforts have been popular and where sports fiction that is heavy on game action is in demand. Reviewer: David Goodale
Harlem High School senior Drew, a star on his basketball team, dreams of playing college ball for a Division I college and making it to the NBA. His tough talk masks insecurity, however: "I was fronting strong, but I knew that ball wasn't a done deal." When Tomas, a new boy from Prague, joins the team, Drew feels threatened. He needs to learn to become a team player, and he has the example of his friend Tony, currently out on bail, to remind him of the importance of making the right decisions. Drew has to learn to trust others, too, and his experiences on the court play out against his study in English class of Othello, and Othello's relationship with Iago. Myers, author of Monster and many other books for YAs, clearly knows basketball, and he nails the court action. The dialog and slang ring true, too, as do Drew's seesawing emotions. A great choice for sports fans. Age Range: Ages 12 to 18. REVIEWER: Paula Rohrlick (Vol. 42, No. 1).
Children's Literature - Nicole Peterson
Drew Lawson is a pretty good basketball player on his high school team in Harlem. So good, in fact, that he hopes to go to college on a basketball scholarship. Drew has a lot on his mind with school, basketball, and a friend who is in jail. This book gives a realistic view of a high school senior from Harlem who wants to make it, but does not have the grades to go to college without a basketball scholarship. The realism includes having a friend's brother who is in jail, talking about people on the streets who are selling stolen goods, working with homeless people, immigration, and attitudes facing youth living in Harlem. The vernacular is true to form, with Ebonics used throughout the book. This book could be inspirational to someone in similar circumstances. For those who do not have comparable experiences, this will give insight of the circumstances of others. Reviewer: Nicole Peterson
School Library Journal - School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up- In this story of a teen who dreams of making it big in the NBA, Myers returns to the theme that has dominated much of his serious fiction: How can young black urban males negotiate the often-harsh landscape of their lives to establish a sense of identity and self-worth? Drew Lawson is a very good high school player who is staking his future on the wildly improbable chance that he will achieve professional stardom. He is not an outstanding student, and he feels that basketball is the only thing that lifts him above the ranks of the ordinary. As he surveys his Harlem neighborhood, he worries that if he does not succeed in sports, he will become like so many other young men he sees around him who continue to talk tough, but have stopped believing in themselves, and are betrayed by "the weakness in their eyes." Harlem itself is a looming presence in the novel: vibrant, exciting, dirty, dangerous, it is the only home that Drew has ever known and to a large extent it both defines and limits his outlook. Being no more or less insightful or articulate (or self-absorbed) than most 17-year-olds, he fails to connect with those adults who have overcome racism, bad luck, and their own missteps to find alternative ways to succeed. As always, Myers eschews easy answers, and readers are left with the question of whether or not Drew is prepared to deal with the challenges that life will inevitably hand him.-Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Drew Lawson is a basketball player in Harlem with "big-money dreams." He's not about gangs or running the streets, just ball, and he hopes he has more to him than those lost to the streets, enough to carry him to a Division I university and on to the NBA. He just has to live up to his ability. But always, just below the surface, is Drew's awareness of the stoops and street corners where people fall behind on their games and lose interest in the score. Drew has a strong family, including a smart, pretty, sassy sister to keep him focused. Drew knows who he is, and he's intent on not blowing his chances. The author's knowledge of basketball shows in the expertly realized game sequences. There's plenty of basketball here, but, as in any good sports novel, more is going on than the sport; life is the game, and this is a sensitive portrait of a likable young man, his family, city and dreams. A good match with Myers's Monster (1999) and Slam (1996). (Fiction. 11+)

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Demco Media
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Product dimensions:
4.70(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Game RB/SB

Chapter One

"Yo, Drew, here's the story!" Jocelyn called me from the living room.

She and Mom were already sitting on the couch across from the television. Pops came out of the bathroom in his undershirt and started to say something, but Mom held her hand up.

"Wait a minute, honey," she said. "They're talking about that stickup on 126th Street."

Pops looked at me. There was a commercial on the television.

"It's coming up next," Jocelyn said.

A moment later a woman's face filled the screen.

What's happening with the youth of America? Well, if you're talking about the young people in our inner cities, the picture is far from pretty. Today two high school boys were involved in a vicious robbery and shoot-out in New York's Harlem community.

The image on the screen switched to a picture of the police stretching yellow tape across the sidewalk in front of a discount store.

At one thirty this afternoon, two boys, boys who should have been in school, attempted to hold up this store on 126th Street and Lenox Avenue. As they made their way from the store and down the busy street, they encountered an off-duty policeman, who immediately sensed what was going on. The two youths shot at the policeman, who returned fire. The result: a badly frightened and wounded clerk in the store, a sixteen-year-old in police custody, and a seventeen-year-old fatally wounded.

The country's educational mantra these days is "No Child Left Behind."

Tragically, this is yet another example of the growing number of children left behind on the cold streets of New York.

InLebanon, negotiators have reached a tentative agreement . . .

Jocelyn switched channels.

"They didn't even give their names," Mom said.

"That's because they weren't eighteen yet," Pops said. "You can read about it in the papers tomorrow."

"It just tears me up to see young people wasting their lives like that," Mom said. "Every time you pick up the newspaper, every time you switch on the television, it's more of our young men either killed or going to jail. Lord have mercy! There just doesn't seem to be an end to it. Now there's a young man with all his life in front of him, and I know his parents wanted the best for him. Lying out on the sidewalk. It just . . . oh, Lord have mercy!"

Mom's voice was cracking, and I wondered why Jocelyn even had the story on. She knew how it upset Mom. She had always worried about me and Jocelyn, but then when my man Ruffy's brother was arrested right after Christmas, she got really messed around.

"I still think you children should finish school down south." Mom was on her feet. She had the towel in her hand she had been using to dry the dishes. "It's just safer down there."

Pops started in about how it wasn't any safer in Savannah, which is where my grandmother lived, than it was in Harlem. I went back to my room, and Jocelyn followed me in and plunked herself down on the end of my bed.

"Why don't you go to your own room, girl?"

"Why don't you let me borrow your cell until I get mine fixed?"


"Drew, you ain't got nobody to call. Let me use your phone."

"Those guys must have been on crack or something," I said. "Pulling a stickup in the middle of the day."

"So when do you pull your stickups?"

"Jocelyn, shut up and get off my bed."

"How long you think Mom is going to be upset?" she asked, not budging from the bed.

I took my sneakers off and threw them near her. "Yo, even when Mom's not acting worried, she's upset," I said. "I only got the rest of the year to go at Baldwin. You're the one she's going to send down south."

"I was thinking that maybe I should just go to Hollywood and start my career," Jocelyn said.

"I thought you were going to go to Harvard first."

"I could commute back and forth."

"And you could get off my bed so I can get some rest."

Jocelyn got up, picked up one of my sneakers, sniffed it, and then staggered out of the room.

The only time our neighborhood made the news was when something bad went down, and the talk in school was about the shooting and who knew the guy who had been killed. It was a hot subject in the morning but had cooled down by lunchtime. A helicopter had gone down in Afghanistan, and that made the front page of the newspaper. The main inside story was about some girl singer getting a divorce and accusing her husband of fooling around with her sister. That was good, because I knew Mom would be looking for news about the shooting. Everything that went down wrong in the neighborhood upset her. I could dig where she was coming from. There had been a time, a few years ago, when the shootings and all the drug stuff were just background noise. You heard about it happening, but unless some kid my age or Jocelyn's age was hit by a stray bullet, it didn't seem that real. But when I reached fifteen, it was boys my age being shot. Mom was always warning me to be careful and stay away from gangs. That's what she understood most...the gangs.

She knew I wasn't about gangs. I was about ball. Ball made me different than guys who ended up on the sidewalk framed by some yellow tape.

"Basketball is wonderful, Son," Mom would say. "And I'm sure glad you're playing sports instead of running the streets."

She would let it go at that, but I knew she had listened to people talking about how hard it was to make it in basketball. I knew that, too. But I also knew that even if I didn't make it . . .

Game RB/SB. Copyright © by Walter Myers. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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