“Last Shot is a brisk novel set in the madness of the NCAA’s Final Four. Exceptionally knowledgeable about the college basketball world, Feinstein has a fine time lampooning broadcaster Dick Vitale and the bureaucrats who populate the NCAA itself. The blackmailing plot that unfolds over the course of Final Four weekend threatens a student-athlete who isn’t a student, implicates an ethics professor with no ethics, and otherwise introduces to young readers the sleaze beneath the glitter of college basketball’s biggest show. Remarkably, Feinstein pokes holes in the illusions without diminishing the excitement of the games themselves as seen through the eyes of two eighth-grade reporters. He writes as if he’s having a fine time at the keyboard, and the result will entertain not only young readers, but the oldsters looking over their shoulders as well.” —Boston Globe
“Score! That’s exactly what author John Feinstein does with this mystery.”—Dallas Morning News
“You’ll feel as if you have a courtside seat at the SuperDome. Last Shot is Feinstein’s first entry into fiction for young people, and it’s an impressive one. The story is intriguing, the dialogue snappy and the finale exciting.” —Bookpage
For eighth-grade reporters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson, winning the national writing contest would have been prize enough. When they receive their all-access tickets to the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament, they are understandably gleeful. Their euphoria comes down a few notches, however, when they overhear a coach pressuring a player to throw a key game. In the March Madness environment, the two young scribes don't know whether they have blundered into the biggest scoop of a lifetime or what threatens to become a near-death experience! Slam-dunk excitement.
Two teenage sportswriters try to uncover a blackmail scheme at the NCAA Final Four. "Young basketball fans will most appreciate the caper, but mystery buffs will also turn these pages eagerly," according to PW. Ages 12-up. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Eighth-grade winners of a national writing contest, Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson, become all-access teen reporters to the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament held in New Orleans. After mingling with sportswriters, television personality Dick Vitale (awesome, baby!), and legendary Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, the wide-eyed teens wander about the massive Superdome. Outside the Minnesota State team locker room, they overhear a grey-haired man tell star Chip Graber to make sure he chokes against Duke or else. Horrified that the future NBA player is being forced to throw the championship game, the intrepid teens spring to action. Using their wits and circumventing NCAA rules (refreshingly, Susan Carol knows her hoops and is an assertive leader), the cub reporters bypass security and confront Chip, offering to help him escape the blackmail plot. As a web of betrayal is unraveled, the trio realizes no one can be trusted, and even Chip is unsure who is actually pulling the strings about his illegal transcripts and who will cash in after the fix. This sports journalist's first young adult novel is set for publication just before March Madness 2005, the story's fast-moving pace will please basketball junkies. Mature readers might not buy into self-assured thirteen-year-olds pulling off brazen schemes, but how the teens outwit bumbling authority figures will appeal to the middle school crowd. Many red herrings and a vast array of adult characters popping up throughout the story perhaps makes this mystery too intricate for reluctant readers, but the insider's view Final Four basketball atmosphere is, well . . . awesome, baby! VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Willappeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2005, Knopf, 256p., and PLB Ages 11 to 15.
To quote the review of the audiobook in KLIATT, September 2005: Steve Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are teenagers who win a journalism contest. Their prize is a trip to the Final Four collegiate basketball championship series in New Orleans, and an opportunity to play sports reporters and write about the event. As they become more comfortable with their mini-celebrity status, they also become creatively bolder and gain access to places and persons usually off-limits to the public. During one of these forays, they overhear a conversation involving a star basketball player and a point-shaving scheme. Thus begins an adventure that will prove far more dangerous than they anticipated. Feinstein, a political and sports writer for the Washington Post, also includes real sports figures: writers, announcers, coaches and players. YAs, especially those interested in college sports, will definitely enjoy this. Never playing down to his audience, Feinstein provides plenty of surprises and plot twists to keep everybody entertained and guessing. KLIATT Codes: JS--Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Random House, Yearling, 251p., $6.50.. Ages 12 to 18.
When Stevie Thomas wins a sports writing contest and gets to cover the Final Four college basketball championship in New Orleans, he knows it's going to be the most unbelievable weekend of his life. And unbelievable it is, but in unexpected ways. Amidst the circus atmosphere at the Superdome-with the Blue Devils, Huskies, Coach K, Dick Vitale, and the clamor of hawkers, scalpers, and the best sportswriters in America-Stevie and his co-winner Susan Carol overhear a plot to throw the championship game. Veteran sportswriter Feinstein uses simple prose, lively dialogue, and authentic details of an event he knows well to recreate the pageantry of college basketball's big show. No little-guy-overcoming-the-odds story, this is a tale of celebrity, big business, and corruption as witnessed by two eager and innocent fledgling reporters who must decide what to do with their unexpected knowledge. A real treat for basketball fans young and old. (Fiction. 10+)