Cassidy is a gifted basketball player, so when she lands wrong and blows out her ACL in a key game, it doesn't just foul up the season, it jeopardizes her ability to win a college scholarship, and MRIs, surgery and physical therapy don't come cheap. When her brother's fiancée, a med student, offers her a shortcut, she leaps at it. Readers will know long before Cassidy does what those "supplements" really are, but they'll bleed with her when she is suspended for steroid use and ostracized. As with the series opener, Motorcycles, Sushi & One Strange Book (2010), the real narrative arc is how Cassidy negotiates her emotional healing with the help of the mysterious RL book, a teenspeak Bible with a mind of its own that guides her to exactly the right stories to help her along the way. A bevy of sympathetic secondary teen characters keeps the predictable story enjoyable. Her hypercompetitive father, truculent brother, once-distant-now-supportive mother and saintly physical therapist stretch believability, but Cassidy's likable enough that readers will probably stick with her anyway. (Fiction. 12 & up)
Tournaments, Cocoa and One Wrong Moveby Nancy N. Rue
In Tournaments, Cocoa&One Wrong Move, book three of bestselling author Nancy Rue’s Real Life series for teen girls, sixteen-year-old Cassidy’s promising basketball future is threatened when she finds herself a victim of Female Athlete Syndrome. Under constant pressure from her bickering parents, at odds with her brother, and terrified that her place as… See more details below
In Tournaments, Cocoa&One Wrong Move, book three of bestselling author Nancy Rue’s Real Life series for teen girls, sixteen-year-old Cassidy’s promising basketball future is threatened when she finds herself a victim of Female Athlete Syndrome. Under constant pressure from her bickering parents, at odds with her brother, and terrified that her place as star on the team will be usurped by a rival, Cassidy makes a bad decision after injuring her knee. When her plan backfires, she finds herself in the study hall for the school’s delinquents. Amidst the problems in her life, Cassidy discovers the mysterious RL book. New goals replace the old ones as Cassidy begins to overcome perfectionism and discover the personal power that comes only from God.
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Tournaments, Cocoa & One Wrong MoveReal Life
By Nancy Rue
ZondervanCopyright © 2010 Nancy Rue
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIt was the best night of my life, it was the worst night of my life.
I think we read a book in Junior Honors English that started something like that. I couldn't tell you the title now. I usually forget stuff like that the day after the test.
Anyway, that night Honors English was the last thing on my mind. So was AP Chemistry and the crush I had on the guy who bagged my mother's groceries. All I was thinking about was basketball.
Specifically the fourth quarter of the game against Monument Valley High, which we had to win to take the county title. Actually, which I had to win. When Monument Valley called a long time-out-like, all of a minute long-Coach Deetz pulled us all into what he called a "puddle" (a "huddle" to any other coach), but his beady browns zinged to me at the end of every question. I was used to it.
"What's the score, ladies?"
"Sixty-eight, sixty-eight," Kara said beside me.
A half dozen of my best friend's blonde curls had escaped from that messy bun thing she always did with her hair for games, and they were sweat-plastered to her temples. She could shoot with deadeye accuracy like nobody in El Paso County, but when the score got this close she usually choked. Reason number one why Coach's eyes kept flicking to me.
"And how much time is left on the clock?" he said.
"A minute thirty seconds," M.J. Martinez said, her voice so gone you could barely hear her accent.
The Trident gum Coach always decimated during games peeked raggedly out from under his left incisor. His eyes landed on me again. "What's going on, Cassidy?"
Behind us the crowd was stomping on the bleachers in rhythm with the pep band, a backbeat for the heaving breathing coming from the four girls around me in the puddle-M.J. and Kara and Hilary and Selena. The outer ring of fifteen who hadn't played this quarter looked on, envious and un-sweaty in their green warm-up jackets. We five slurped water and dripped on the gym floor and bent over, pressing our knees with our hands. Everybody was looking at me just like Coach was.
"Okay-" I said. "We have to stop passing to Kara and expecting her to make the jump shots."
Hilary's red head snapped up. "But she's our best-"
"She misses one more layup and I'm taking her out," Coach said.
I didn't look at Kara. Didn't have to. Her baby blues would be tearing up about now.
"She's tired," I said, instead of the truth, which was that she was about to freak. I turned to Selena. "If you could get on that Number Twelve chick and keep her away from me so I can get to the paint, that would work."
Coach chewed his gum at us, eyes the size of BBs. "You have ten seconds left. Anybody gonna argue with that?"
The skin over Selena's cheekbones stretched until you could almost see through it. "If I cover her any closer I'll foul her."
"So let her foul you," Coach said. "You know how to take a charge." His eyes tightened. "Look, you can't start playing a powder-puff game now. Get in there and clear a path so Cassidy can take it to the hole. What do you want, Cass?"
"Half-court trap," I said. "M.J. and Selena on Twelve as soon as we get her over to the corner. Make her go for a skip pass, you guys."
"And you'll intercept it," Coach said.
"Or I can," Selena said.
Coach shook his head. "They have a nasty edge- you break it and let Cassidy take the shot. Clear?"
Selena nodded, of course. We all did. But when I thrust out my hand and everybody stuck theirs out with me, I could see her swallowing like she had a marshmallow in her throat. That was her pride going down. Kara, on the other hand, grabbed onto me like she was about to fall off a tall building.
"Defense on three!" I said.
M.J. did her usual hoarse-because-I've been-yelling-for-an-hour "Uno-dos-tres," and all of us screamed, "Defense!"
The ref's whistle pierced the air, and Coach tugged on his supposedly lucky Mickey Mouse tie and faked a smile. He hadn't really smiled since the season started, and I knew he wouldn't again until we dumped a bucket of Gatorade over his head at the end of state finals-which he promised we could do when we won. When. Not if. There was no "if" with Coach Deetz.
I started to follow the team onto the court, but Coach hissed, "Brewster." I turned to face him while I continued backing slowly toward the sideline.
"Do what you have to do," he said.
Translation: "It's all on you now."
Why would he even bother to say it? It always was.
It wasn't that I had brought the Austin Bluffs High School varsity girls' basketball team through an undefeated season single-handedly. We-all of us, even the second team-were like a well-oiled machine for three quarters of every game. The newspaper and the local TV station called our first team the UN because we had M.J. the hard-driving Hispanic, Selena the focused Asian, Hilary the fiery Irish girl, Kara the shooting Scandinavian queen, and me, the white-bread captain. But it didn't escape the team that somehow when it came to the fourth quarter, it was like I was the only one out there.
I didn't have any more stamina than anybody else; I was breathing like an asthma patient at the moment, and my muscles were practically screaming, "What are you thinking? We're dyin' here!" So that wasn't it. My mother said it was my "mojo." My father said-
Well, never mind what my father said. If I went there right now, we could forget about the Gatorade baptism ever happening. I didn't even chance looking up into the stands, where Dad was at that very moment probably throwing an embolism. I wasn't sure exactly what that was, but my brother's med-student girlfriend had said it about him when they told him they were moving in together. You get the idea ...
The Monument Valley team apparently got a butt-chewing from their coach during the time-out, because when the refs finally finished wiping the sweat off the floor and the ball was thrown in, they took to the court like a swarm of bees.
On steroids. Number Nine - a wiry African American with two inches on my five foot nine-was immediately all over me. I managed to dribble in front of her but she stuck close to my behind. I could hear Coach Deetz-and probably my father-screaming at the ref, but no whistle blew, not even when I felt the not-all-that-subtle push in the small of my back. Why did Selena have her panties in a bunch about fouling these chicks? People were getting away with full-on groping out here.
Pressure makes perfect. The words took shape in my head before I even told myself to think them. Other people fall apart-you come together. Simple as that.
My breathing slowed down and I could feel myself coming into focus. Now all I needed was for Selena and M.J. to come together too. I should have gone over the play with them once more, especially since M.J. was a little ADHD. Now I couldn't exactly yell "Half-court trap!"
M.J.'s dark eyes darted around helplessly as I continued toward the half line, where once I crossed there was no going back. No way I could point to where I wanted her to go with Nine all up in my dental work. I finally barked, "M.J.-corner!"
I hated sounding like a pit bull, but at least she got it and moved to the corner of the attacking half of the court. That drew the nasty Number Twelve over there, which was perfect. Nine stole the ball from me and passed it right to her.
Immediately M.J. was on her, those wonderful brown arms of hers working the air. Coach Deetz always told her to "Remember the Alamo, Martinez!" A racially sensitive man, our coach. Selena didn't join her like I hoped she would, but Hilary, bless her, did, red hair escaping from her ponytail, freckles oozing sweat. The two of them trapped Twelve so she couldn't dribble out. Okay, so they had heard me. This was the team I loved.
Twelve only had five seconds to hold on to the ball before she did something with it, and I pretty much knew she was going to try for a skip pass.
Tennies squealing across the boards, I sprinted down the court. Kara was diagonal to me. I assumed Selena was behind me somewhere, hopefully keeping Nine from chasing after me and climbing up my tailpipe. I turned in time to see Twelve raise both arms over her head, pale and long and flexible as cooked pasta, and make a long lateral pass. Right into my path.
I jumped for the ball and let it settle into my hands with the leather-smacking sound I lived for. I immediately passed it to Kara, who dribbled it all of two times while I took off toward the goal.
Opposite lower corner, Kara, I told her with my eyes. Just like in practice.
She made the quick transition like the pro she totally could be and passed the ball high and toward the lower corner of the backboard. Even as I focused I could hear the crowd moan because they thought she'd missed the shot. But the ball went right where I wanted it to go-right where I could catch it as I pulled myself straight into the air, right where I could twist and make the basket without ever touching the ground. Cassidy Brewster Wins It with an Alley-Oop, the headline would say.
I heard it swish, making my second-favorite sound on earth. Then came my most favorite-the unanimous surprised cry as the buzzer blasted. Seventy to sixty-eight in the last seconds.
All of that rippled through my mind before gravity started to pull me down. And just as quickly it was all jolted out. Somebody else was there, below me. I felt her heat as I twisted to avoid coming down on top of her, and suddenly I was Gumby-all my limbs hyperextending and taking off on their own.
When my right foot landed without the left, I felt a pop in my knee, and then the shiny court floor slapped me in the face. I just lay there while my team celebrated around me and the crowd screamed "Cassi-DEE, Cassi-DEE," and the pep band burst into the Austin Bluffs fight song, trombones pumping as if the star player weren't lying in a crumpled heap on the ground.
I rolled over and looked up the legs of the person I'd slid down in my graceful path to the floor. They weren't the lithe limbs of Number Twelve. These were way more slender and way more familiar.
"Selena!" I said. "A little help!"
But it was Kara who crouched over me first. "Cass, you okay?"
I nodded, because I wasn't really in pain. Ticked off, yes, but not hurt.
Not until she hauled me up and I got to my feet-and collapsed like I was trying to stand on top of Jell-O.
"What's going on?" Coach was there, bumping Kara aside as he went to his knees beside me.
"I'm fine," I said. "Seriously. My knee's just weird."
Coach muttered something religiously profane under his breath and yelled, "Somebody get the doc!"
"No, I'm okay," I said. "Let me just stand up-"
I pushed his hairy arm away-something I wouldn't have done if my head hadn't been going into panic mode- and struggled to my feet again. This time I tumbled before I even put my full weight on my right leg. This time a whole tangle of hands got me to the ground.
And this time I didn't get up.
* * *
"I don't see any swelling," Dad said. "It's probably just a strain. We'll put some ice on it when we get home."
Jimmy Sanchez, our trainer, gave him a polite-looking nod, but he mostly just kept putting his hands on my knee joint. I could see it in his narrow eyes: And where did you go to medical school, Mr. Brewster?
My father wasn't a doctor. He was an attorney, although not an especially interesting one. He worked on publishing contracts- stuff like that. You would have thought at that moment, though, that he'd gotten his MD from the University of Colorado, the way the two vertical lines were digging a trench in the skin between his dark eyebrows. And the way he was firing questions at me.
"How much pain are you in, on a scale from one to ten?"
I propped myself up on my elbows on the table they'd stretched me out on in the hall behind the gym and shook my head. "Two-maybe three."
"If it were serious she'd be hurting worse than that," he said to Jimmy.
I think that was what he said. I was more interested in the crowd that was still cheering in the gym. The pep band was on their third playing of the Rocky theme. I should be out there with my team, celebrating our title.
"I'm not going to swear that's what it is," Jimmy was saying to Dad, "but I'd get her to a doctor if it starts to swell."
"She's tough. A little ice, a little ibuprofen-she'll be good to go."
Jimmy looked about as convinced as a ten-year-old on Santa's lap. "I want you to try to put weight on it again, Cassidy," he said. "If it's-"
"Look, I think we've already established that she can't walk on it yet." Dad's blue eyes and everything around them were coming to a point like a drug-sniffing dog. It was weird how eyes that pale could get that intense. Even Jimmy, a nurse practitioner specializing in sports medicine, shrugged and backed off.
"Take the crutches then," he said. "I'll get you an ice pack."
"We've got one at home," Dad said. "You can hop out of here, can't you, Cass?"
"Home?" I said. "The whole team's going out to celebrate."
"If you want to play next week, they'll have to celebrate without you." Dad nodded me off the table. "I'll cook you a steak."
"Rest, ice, and elevation," Jimmy said. To the air. Because my father already had his long fingers curled around my arm and was helping me hobble one-legged to the door.
"Thanks, Jimmy," I said over my shoulder.
"Don't mention it," he said back. But his eyes were glowering straight at my dad.
It wasn't that my father was some kind of monster. He definitely didn't look like one. He was tall. Pretty thin except for the slight paunch that he could totally get rid of if he'd do something besides direct my athletic career. His hair was all white, even though he wasn't that old, and with his goldish skin, it was sort of striking. That was what my friends' mothers would say when they first met him: "Your father is so striking." After they got to know him, they didn't say much about him to me at all. Nobody did.
By the time we made it halfway down the hall, Coach opened the double doors from the gym and herded the team through them toward the locker room. Most of the team dodged around him and headed for me. I supported myself with the wall and grinned.
"You're okay!" Kara said. Most of us had lost the ability to squeal like that at age six. Not my Kara. She could seriously pierce your eardrum.
"Not okay enough to go out partying, if that's where this conversation's headed," Dad said.
"Then we'll bring the party to you!" That came from Hilary, who hadn't been around my father enough to know you didn't tell him what was going to happen. Although she was pretty much known for blurting stuff out and then folding all her freckles into a smile and getting away with whatever came from her mouth. Even Coach didn't yell at her. That much.
"We'll pick up pizza and drinks," M.J. said. "Who's got money?"
"Not me," Selena said-though I was sure she did. Her father was a doctor. She was probably the only daughter of a plastic surgeon who actually went to public school. "I'll drive, though."
The usual complicated process of figuring out who was riding with whom drowned out any protest my father might have staged. Coach took him aside, which gave me a chance to grab Kara.
"Will you ride with me, please?" I said. "I'll owe you."
She didn't even have to ask why. I had long ago decided that was the definition of a best friend: somebody who knew the things you hated and would make sacrifices so you didn't have to suffer through them. It was the same reason I always invited her to spend the night with me when her older sister came home from college, so she didn't have to go shopping with her. Kara hated shopping. I hated riding home from games and practices alone with my father.
Excerpted from Tournaments, Cocoa & One Wrong Move by Nancy Rue Copyright © 2010 by Nancy Rue. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author
Nancy Rue has written over 100 books for girls, is the editor of the Faithgirlz Bible, and is a popular speaker and radio guest with her expertise in tween and teen issues. She and husband Jim have raised a daughter of their own and now live in Tennessee.
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I read the sample and i jusrlt had to get the book, i love the RL series!
Does the main character have a boyfriend?
I think it was really good and I could kind of relate to Cassidy's injury because I am a dancer and i know how serious any type of injury can be to any type of athlete.
like the way it flows even if i got the sample.
i didnt read it but i liked the first one boyfriends borretos and an ocean of trouble i think it was great about a girl and surfing and relationship problems