4.8 5
by Bob Krech

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As Ray fights to make his way onto the Franklin High Varsity, he finds that things are not as simple as he once thought—that a kind friend can be full of hate. And prejudice can be defined in many ways in a world that isn’t black-and-white.See more details below


As Ray fights to make his way onto the Franklin High Varsity, he finds that things are not as simple as he once thought—that a kind friend can be full of hate. And prejudice can be defined in many ways in a world that isn’t black-and-white.

Editorial Reviews

Cord McKeithen
Polish American kids from the Greenville working-class, rustbelt neighborhood don't play basketball; they wrestle. Ray Wisniewski doesn't want to buy into the idea that black kids play hoops and white kids wrestle. Ray is determined to overcome this. Krech's story of "teenager tries to make good" is another reminder that subdivisions, barriers, and bigotry can pollute a school. Ray learns a hard lesson when he couldn't make the basketball team under the white coach for two seasons. When a new black coach arrives his senior year, Ray is suddenly talented enough to make the 22-man squad. The only problem with making a varsity team is that it brings on unasked-for responsibilities and treatments . . . and makes those barriers even worse. What should Ray do when there are conflicts between his white friends and his newfound black friends? Or when some of his teammates see him as a detriment to the team? Reviewer: Cord McKeithen
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
From the first page of Krech's thought-provoking novel, his protagonist/narrator Ray Wisniewski lets us know that despite what the guidance counselors keep saying, race matters. In Ray's New Jersey high school, the black guys play basketball and the Polish guys wrestle: when you are the only white person in the locker room after basketball tryouts, you definitely notice. To pursue his own hoop dreams, Ray has to deal with a white coach who falls all over himself to favor black kids, hostile black kids who do not want Ray on the team, well-meaning parents who try to hide their discomfort in his new black friendships, and a lifelong best friend whose anti-black racism proves to be dangerously deep and disturbing. Wisniewski's present-tense narrative voice, although believably kidlike, is fairly flat and uninteresting: "Friday night is excellent for me! Fifteen points, eight rebounds. We win by ten and our record is 11-0. Still undefeated!" But the constant sports action and mounting tensions of the story should draw in reluctant readers, who will find themselves grappling with an unflinching, if occasionally heavy-handed, exploration of the painful and enduring presence of racism in our society in all its overt and covert manifestations.
VOYA - Jeff Mann
Every student in the town of Franklin knows and follows an unwritten rule-if you are a black athlete you play basketball, and if you are a white athlete you wrestle-everyone except Raymond Wisniewski. Ray, who is Polish, has no interest in wrestling and is a good basketball player but has never made his high school team. When Ray finally realizes his dream and makes the team, his problems begin. He encounters constant conflict as he challenges the status quo at his high school. Ray struggles to juggle his friends who are white and his new teammates who are predominately black. Neither group believes that Ray should be playing basketball. Ray tries to fit in to both of these worlds, but he is caught in the middle as his best friend, Walter, pushes for a violent confrontation between the two groups. This novel tackles many familiar teen issues-friendship, fitting in, dating, self-worth, and authority-but issues of peer pressure, prejudice, and race dominate. The characters' views and conversations on race will make for a spirited discussion among teen readers. While confronting racial stereotypes, some YA novel stereotypes still exist-a pretty girl who is not pretty on the inside, a tough coach who always does and says the perfect thing, and a best friend who is not supportive. Readers will respond to honest dialogue about prejudices, however, and will appreciate the quality basketball action peppered throughout Krech's thought-provoking first novel.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Ray Wisniewski loves basketball. However, at his New Jersey high school, the Polish boys are expected to excel at wrestling while basketball is left to the black kids. Initially, he struggles to make the team, attributing his failures to the fact that he is white. Once he makes it, he has trouble integrating with his mostly African-American teammates as well as some discomfort at home with the racist attitudes of his family and friends. The story ostensibly follows Ray from his sophomore through his senior year. Unfortunately, his sophomore and junior years are covered in one chapter each, creating a rather jerky pace. The central conflict is never entirely clear, though in the end one realizes that this is because Krech has attempted to show how prejudice motivates almost all of the characters in one way or another. The conclusion ties up all the racial conflict in a way that is satisfying while remaining realistic. The characters are compelling and their dialogue, complete with all the grammatical inconsistencies of typical male teen banter, rings true. The basketball action is fast paced enough to hold the interest of reluctant readers who are fans of the sport. If Paul Volponi's Black and White (Viking) and Matt de la Pe-a's Ball Don't Lie (Delacorte, both 2005) are popular, it is likely that Rebound will also be well received. While not a first purchase, this novel will find an audience.-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
People are hard to figure, especially when you're a 17-year-old white boy in a racially divided section of New Jersey. The geography of prejudice is apparent from the start: Polish-American Greenville, predominantly black Jefferson Park and mostly rich white neighborhoods of Regent's Park. These worlds collide at Franklin High School, where Ray Wisniewski dreams of making varsity basketball, though most white boys go out for wrestling. A lot is going on in this ambitious work exploring the subtle and not-so-subtle faces of racism today. Layers of prejudice are dissected, a climactic gang showdown forces the issue of race and loyalty and Ray discovers his place in this world, where what's important is a "brotherhood of actions. Of deeds." Though the first-person narrative falters at times (with "dudes" and "brothers" not ringing true to Ray's voice, a father's corny words of caution and a good deal of dialogue that teaches lessons), the author clearly knows the world of high-school basketball. Sure to be a slam-dunk success with players and fans alike. (Fiction. 12-15)
Keir Graff
In Greenville, New Jersey, the Polish kids wrestle, and the black kids play basketball. But Ray Wisniewski is different. He loves basketball so much that he keeps trying to make the high-school team, even though he is always getting cut. Ray's got game, but the coach--Polish himself--seems biased toward black players. Finally, in Ray's senior year, a new coach is hired--a black guy--and Ray makes the team. That's when things get complicated, and Ray is caught up in racism close to home and on...

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Product Details

Amazon Childrens Publishing
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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

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