One on One

One on One

5.0 9
by Tabitha King

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A small-town school in western Maine, milltown Greenspark has a single claim to fame: its high school basketball team. A hero on the court, senior Sam Styles has led Greenspark Academy to three consecutive state championships. He has become an off-court mover-and-shaker as well, and he sends a shockwave through the school's social hierarchy when he decides that… See more details below


A small-town school in western Maine, milltown Greenspark has a single claim to fame: its high school basketball team. A hero on the court, senior Sam Styles has led Greenspark Academy to three consecutive state championships. He has become an off-court mover-and-shaker as well, and he sends a shockwave through the school's social hierarchy when he decides that capping his own high school career with a fourth victory will not be enough: he wants the girls' team to win one, too. Standing between the girls and that state trophy is the person who is also their best hope of gaining it, a sophomore known as the Mutant, a/k/a Deanie Gauthier. She is attitude incarnate, a quicksilver playmaker on the court and a defiant pariah off it, as disliked as Sam is popular. If the girls are going to go all the way, Sam realizes, he will have to straighten her out. Saving Deanie from herself is no easy task, however. Behind the wild, tough girl, Sam discovers an unexpected soul mate, and he isn't prepared for the volatile, disturbing relationship that ignites between them and cuts radically across the grain of Greenspark's traditions. He wants her to take her team to the championships; she wants to take him where he's never been before. They both get more than they bargain for - Deanie must surrender the secrets shielded by her Mutant facade, and Sam must take on their burden. It is an exchange that will transform both their lives. One on One is a remarkably engaging story of sexual initiation and awakening into love, of how growing up breaks and remakes family, of an adolescent culture that makes its own rules and enforces them its own way. It is the story of a season full of pain and triumph, injury and healing, when the lives of two vividly realized human beings fatefully entwine. Tabitha King has written a vigorously honest, richly textured novel that brilliantly evokes those exhilarating, unsettling growing-up years.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this affecting story of high-school basketball and teenage romance, King returns to the small-town Maine characters who peopled her previous novel, Pearl. Sam Styles, who made brief appearances as the son of Pearl's lover Reuben in the earlier book, has grown into a straight-living, Bible-reading high-school basketball star. In his senior year, he finds himself attracted to scrappy, hostile little Deanie Gauthier, captain of the girls' basketball team. As Sam and Deanie struggle to lead their respective squads to state championships, a dark bond of sexual passion grows between them, and he is increasingly drawn into her troubled life. Conflicts ignite that threaten their relationship, as well as their ability to play ball. Both are beset by adversaries: J. C., an upper-middle-class drug dealer at the school, has a sordid hold over Deanie, and Pete, a dissolute teammate of Sam's, detests his sense of morality. On the periphery of the high-school action, but posing the most sinister threat, is Deanie's mother's abusive boyfriend. The overlong narrative loses steam as King (married to novelist Stephen) resolves each conflict separately, diminishing the impact of the grand finale. However, her rich characters and her brutal, violent portrayal of teenage life manage to sustain interest despite a flabby plot. BOMC alternate. (Mar.)
Library Journal
In such previous works as Small World ( LJ 4/1/81), King explored the darker side of human nature. Her new novel balances this darkness with suggestions of possible redemption. Sam Stokes and Deanie Gauthier share love and a talent for basketball, although their very different backgrounds make them an unlikely pair. He is an easygoing athlete with a penchant for reading the Bible; she is caught in a web of abuse and angrily faces the world with a shaved head and body chains. Yet as the Greenspark Academy Indians boys' and girls' basketball teams head for the Maine state championship, Sam and Deanie form a complex bond, composed of both pain and hope, that King makes believable and captivating. She successfully evokes both the excitement of small-town high school sports and the underlying tension her plot requires. For most fiction collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/92; BOMC alternate.-- Jan Blodgett, St. Mary's Cty. Records Ctr. & Archives, Leonardtown, Md.
School Library Journal
YA-- Sam Styles is a popular teen who honors the no-alcohol-or-drugs pledge and has a warm and supportive home. Deanie (a.k.a. Mutant) Gauthier shaves her head, adorns herself with chains, smokes cigarettes and marijuana, and tries to keep secret the abuse she suffers by her mother's boyfriend. This seemingly mismatched couple comes together because they share a love of basketball, and their needs and yearnings nurture their relationship off the court. While the pacing sometimes drags, the setting and characters are realistic, complete with drugs, sex, and violence. Teens will be able to identify with many of the people and their problems.-- Patricia A. Long, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Donna Seaman
It's a cuttingly cold Maine night, but a lone figure in a tattered overcoat is shooting baskets on the high school court. Thin, skinheaded, pierced and chained, the Mutant pivots, leaps, and executes a perfect hook shot. A punk basketball player? Yup. And that's not all, the Mutant is a girl. And Deannie's not just any girl, but the star of Greenspark Academy's hot girls' team. Her counterpart on the championship-winning boys' team is Sam Styles, an Adonis with a ponytail, athletic prowess, and a soul as big as the sun. They're an unlikely pair. Deannie's into tattoos, shoplifting, dope, and sex--but more on that later. Sam, traumatized by his mother's abandonment and his floozy sister's descent into deep sleaze, not only doesn't get high, he's a virgin. His home life is warm, if complex. His father's second wife is black, and they have a new baby. Deannie doesn't have a home; she lives in hell, abused by her mother and her mother's evil boyfriend who routinely rapes her. Her bravado, nuclear holocaust attire, and hard-core partying are all shields to mask her suffering (and fragile beauty). Different as they are, she and Sam find bliss on the court and, eventually, with each other after a grueling series of melodramatic confrontations--some witty, some extremely violent. King's dialogue is fleet and her sex scenes smoldering yet touchingly innocent, but her plotting is clumsy and overdone. A feisty if flawed, high impact, and hip (picture Patrick Swayze and Sinead O'Connor) tale of growing up and learning to love.

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Product Details

Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
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7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.00(d)

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