Gr 3-6In addition to being worried about losing his place on the hockey team because of a low English grade, Jeff becomes a victim of sabotage. He is shocked when Kevin, his best friend, receives a cruel note in Jeff's handwriting. To make matters worse, Jeff gets another low grade on his English paper even after correcting his mistakes with his tutor. He soon discovers that a teammate has been forging his handwriting. Christopher uses straightforward sentence structure and a simple vocabulary. Characters show positive yet realistic valuesJeff in dreading the tutor but knowing he needs help and the culprit in admitting his guilt. The mystery progresses quickly, provides clues that lead to more than one suspect, and reaches a satisfying conclusion. Some readers may not guess the ending, but they will feel successful in organizing the clues in their minds. Libraries needing more hockey stories will want to include this one in their collection.Blair Christolon, Prince William Library, Manassas, VA
After a season away from hockey because of slipping grades, Jeff Connors is in trouble again and anxious to keep his place on the team. A tutor helps Jeff shore up his worst grade, in English; under her guidance he begins to see what he's been doing wrong, and comes up with a decent composition that he hopes will redeem him in the eyes of the team and his coach. He and his best friend, Kevin, resolve to work hard to help the team win the title, and everything looks rosy. Then Kevin finds a nasty note in his locker that looks as if it were written by Jeff, and Jeff gets his English paper back with a failing gradebut it's not the paper he handed in. It's a puzzle, all right, one that befuddles Jeff even though readers who aren't as slow on the uptake as he is will have most of the details figured out. These one-dimensional jocks employ some fairly leaden dialogue on the way to the inevitable happy ending, but not even all those exclamation points can give the book a semblance of excitement.