A powerful novel about friendship, basketball, and one teen's mission to create a better life for his family in the tradition of Jason Reynolds, Matt de la Pena, and Walter Dean Myers.
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Randy Ribay was born in the Philippines and raised in the Midwest on a diet of books and Pokémon cards. Ribay is the author of An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes. A graduate of the University of Colorado and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ribay is an English teacher at a private school in Palo Alto, California, and a reviewer for The Horn Book. He lives in Stanford, California. www.randyribay.com Twitter and Instagram @randyribay
Read an Excerpt
I’m never sure what to write for the dead. I mean, most of the time when someone hands me the marker at one of these vigils, I just end up laying down something vague and comforting. You know: See you in heaven. We’ll miss you. Rest in peace, bro. Something like that. But it never feels right. Never feels like your words will make a difference, like they’ll make his family feel better or stop anyone else from dying for no reason. The person they’re meant for won’t ever read them, so you’re just wasting ink. But the small, silent crowd shuffles forward, the girl ahead of me passes me a marker, and it’s my turn. I’ve got to write something. I step up to the big oak tree that stands in the middle of Virgilio Square, its bare branches spread out overhead like skeletal fingers. A white sheet’s been wrapped around its trunk, with TE QUEREMOS, GABE, airbrushed across the middle in big blue letters. I know enough Spanish to know that means “we love you.” Everyone’s notes and signatures are scrawled in the spaces all around it. A bunch of teddy bears and candles sit at the base of the tree in front of a framed photo of Gabe smiling big, all nestled in a nook formed by the roots. This is where Gabe and his friends were hanging when the shots were fired. Word is the bullet was meant for someone else. Too bad the bullet didn’t know that. I’m tall, so I decide to add my message up high on the sheet where there’s only a couple others. I take off my glove and shake my hand to try to warm it up, then I lean against the tree and press the tip of the marker against the white cotton. The black ink bleeds into it. I stay like that for a few moments, adding nothing but a black dot because I still don’t know what to write. I want to put down something meaningful. Gabe lived three streets over and was only a year ahead of me in school. We weren’t real tight, but coming up, he was part of the group of kids we’d always play football or manhunt or whatever with. For some reason, I keep thinking about how he used to eat apples whole, core and all. The rest of us would tell him a tree was going to grow in his stomach if he drank too much water. Funny how your mind picks something small like that to replay. But I also think about last summer, when I announced that I was transferring from Whitman High, our neighborhood school, to St. Sebastian’s, a private school in the suburbs. Pride in Whitman High’s basketball team runs real deep around our way, so a lot of people didn’t like that one bit. My main man, Nasir, straight up stopped talking to me. But Gabe was cool about it. I was shooting around at the courts one day shortly after the announcement, and some guys started getting in my face about it. Gabe stepped in, calmed them down, and sent them on their way. Then he told me to keep my head up, to not let it get to me. Maybe it’s because he was good at football and so understood what I was trying to do with basketball, but whatever the reason, it meant a lot. Only, I don’t know how to express all this on a bed sheet wrapped around a tree. I feel the line behind me growing restless, since I’m taking forever, so I give up trying to find the perfect words. I settle for i won’t forget you, and sign my name. Don’t know what happens to us after we die, but if there’s some way he can read this, I know he’ll understand the words I feel but can’t find. After handing the marker to the woman behind me, I step aside, slip my glove back on, and dig my hands into my coat pockets. I go back to the rear of the crowd that’s gathered in the blocked-off street, bundled up in their winter gear and waiting for his pastor or his parents or whoever to take the mic that’s set up in the patch of grass next to the tree. After a bit, one of the local politicians gets up there and starts going on about how we can’t let something like this happen again. I’ve heard this song before, so my mind drifts. It’s overcast and frigid. Late February and still hasn’t snowed more than a dusting all winter. Looking up, I wonder if today’s the day. The gray clouds feel heavy as my heart, like they’re about to dump two feet of snow on us at any moment. An airplane crawls across the sky on its way to Philly on the other side of the river, the drone of its engines getting louder as it approaches. A lot of people hate that we’ve got these jets flying past every few minutes, but I don’t mind. It’s like God’s constant reminder that there’s more out there than this. Besides, I kind of like how they make the sun blink when they pass by on a clear day. Of course, right now the sun’s hidden behind the clouds, so the plane passes and then it’s quiet again except for boots shifting, people sniffling, cars passing on the side streets. Some hushed conversations. Quiet, sad laughter. Every now and then someone breaking down. The politician at the mic is still carrying on, for some reason talking about one of her new initiatives. I stay tuned out, letting my eyes wander across the crowd. There are a lot of families from the neighborhood out here, as well as what seems like most of the kids from Whitman High. The girls hold each other and dab at their eyes while the guys stand around like they’ve got faces cut from stone. A few nod at me, but I hang back. I mostly stay to myself these days. My interactions in the neighborhood usually go one of two ways: either people try to start something like I betrayed them personally by transferring to St. Sebastian’s, or they try to put all this pressure on me to go back to Whitman High. Either way, I’m not feeling like dealing with any of it, so I turn to leave, even though the memorial’s still going. That’s when I see Nasir. He’s off to the side with his cousin Wallace. Easy to spot them, what with Wallace’s height making Nasir look even shorter than he would by himself. Both have their hoods up. Nasir stares at the teddy bears at the foot of the tree while Wallace looks all around like he’s got somewhere else to be. I’ll see them on the court tomorrow since they both still play for Whitman, but I consider walking over to say what’s up to Nas. It’s stupid we’re still not talking because I want something more than what Whitman can offer. Out of everyone, I expected him to get that. But as I’m about take a step toward them, Wallace catches sight of me. I nod at him, but he doesn’t nod back. He holds my gaze for a beat and then nudges Nas. Nas lifts his eyes and they meet mine for a moment. Then he turns his back to me and walks away.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book After The Shot drops Is a very interesting fiction book written by Randy Ribay. This book is about four friends who are Bunny, Nasir, Wallace, and Kenoya.There's lots of drama between Bunny and Nasir, because bunny decides to move to a new school where There's m re equipment for sports and more colleges look for the next NBA players. Bunny it's dating Kenoya when nasir likes her. Wallace is going to get evicted from his apartment with his grandma. Nasir’s dads book shop isn't doing so good so they might have to sell it. The story is told in a first person narratives.I think that this book was in a slow pace because it kinda dragged and it would take the character for ever to say what they wanted to say. Wallace is the antagonist in this novel because he bets on St. S to loose and wants to get Bunny of for the season by sending Nasir to be a spy for him, so Wallace can get money and help his grandma pay the bills of the house. Nasir is the protagonist in this novel, because he wants to find a way to help Wallace and his grandma. He helps Wallace find a job, so he and his grandma won't get evicted. Nasir also offered to let Wallace and his grandma stay at his house until they found a new place. The major conflict in this novel is Nasir and Bunny not talking to each other anymore. Nasir stops talking to Bunny because Bunny moves schools without telling Nasir. My favorite character is Wallace he is funny,and he doesn't care about anything or what people think of him. Wallace is straight up and he won't back down from a fight. I would not change anything from this novel, because it’s in a way the reader will understand it. The store by Bunny and by Nasir. It is told to get Bunny’s and Nasir's perspective, and also to get there day told by them.Overall I did enjoy reading this novel and I would recommend it to other people.
Alan Hernandez G.Lamas English I/m-w/6th 16 May 2018
Excellent book that I did not want to put down. This story is not just for basketball fans. It is a great story of teenagers and a critical time in their lives. I finished it in 4 sittings.