- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From the Publisher
WALTMAN, Kevin. Learning the Game. 217p. Scholastic. 2005. Tr $16.95. ISBN 0-439-73109-7. LC number unavailable.
Gr 8 UpNate's brother, Marvin, accidentally shot his friend five years ago. This chance event sends him away from home and down the road of drugs and crime, leaving his wealthy parents in a fog of denial. Nate's goal is snagging the final starting spot on the varsity basketball team, and he practices every day on a court outside a local fraternity house. One thing leads to another and Nate finds himself following some of his teammates into the house, stealing whatever they can and rationalizing that the wealthy fraternity boys will not miss a few electronics. As Nate struggles with his conscience, he learns about how a chance decision can make or break someone's life. Does he confess to his coach and risk incriminating the entire team? Does he follow his girlfriend's advice and protect his image? Does he seek out Marvin and try to learn from his mistakes? Readers picking up the book for sports action will not be disappointed, but they will also find themselves relating to and intrigued by Nate and the tough choices he is forced to make. Conflict ranges from external as players compete for time on the varsity team, to internal as Nate must decide between right and wrong and chance versus choice. Teenagers will relate to these well-developed characters who make poor decisions and are then left to struggle with the consequences.Julie Webb, Shelby County High School, Shelbyville, KY
Claire Rosser (KLIATT Review, July 2005 (Vol. 39, No. 4))
Waltman, the author of a similar YA novel, Nowhere Fast, knows how to get at the heart of an adolescent boy, especially one unsure of who he is. The protagonist is Nate, who lives a comfortable life in the best section of a small town in Indiana; he is the younger brother of Marvin, whose life appears to be in ruin after an accident with a gun. Marvin knows when Nate is involved with his basketball team in a burglary at a local frat house, and he helps Nate figure out what to do in the aftermath. Basketball is Nate's passion, and he has worked so hard to be part of the varsity team, he doesn't seem able to say no to the team bad boy who urges the robbery. The heroic figure is Jackson, the only black member of the team, who refuses to go along with the robbery and talks sense to Nate. Nate's snobbish father figures that Jackson, because he IS black, must have been in on the robbery. Another main figure is Lorrie, Nate's girlfriend, who also is a dedicated basketball player. Lorrie's advice to Nate, when he tells her the truth, is that he should never admit his guilt--so he is torn apart by conflicting opinions and must search inside himself for the solution. In doing so, he understands things about himself that will change him forever. For a sports book, there are a lot of words about feelings and thoughts; but there are also many passages of sports action that will satisfy those who like basketball. Most athletes will understand the pull of teammates and the lure of belonging to a team, which would make most of us weak enough to go along with the group even if the group is not doing what's right. And then lying to protect teammates, to keep a team together--we all understand how that would happen. This is a book that has appeal for all YAs. There are some instances of the F word, but nothing that would shock any YA at all. Category: Hardcover Fiction. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Scholastic, 217p., $16.95. Ages 12 to 18.