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Take Your Best Shot

Take Your Best Shot

3.0 5
by John Coy

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Middle school and life on and off the basketball court are what four friends deal with in this satisfying conclusion to the 4 for 4 series. Here are four very different boys dealing with family, friends, school, and sports, told in a believable and accessible style.

Jackson, Gig, Isaac, and Diego, four sports-loving friends who have always stuck together,


Middle school and life on and off the basketball court are what four friends deal with in this satisfying conclusion to the 4 for 4 series. Here are four very different boys dealing with family, friends, school, and sports, told in a believable and accessible style.

Jackson, Gig, Isaac, and Diego, four sports-loving friends who have always stuck together, are getting used to the routines of middle school: detention, tons of homework, and a bit of drama where girls and school dances are concerned—there’s a lot on their plates.

One thing the boys are looking forward to, however, is basketball season. The court may be unpredictable, but it’s nothing compared to their lives. Jackson’s mom is marrying her boyfriend. Isaac and Diego may not even play basketball, because they have so many other things going on. And Gig is worried about his father, who is still stationed in Afghanistan.

Here is a story about how life, like sports, can be unpredictable, frustrating, and exhilarating. Take Your Best Shot by John Coy is part of the 4 for 4 series, an action-packed middle grade series for young readers about four boys from diverse backgrounds who deal with family, friendship, and school situations.

“This appealing story about friendships rings true ... Coy's fourth book in the '4 for 4' series nets a win.” -Children's Literature

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“This appealing story about friendships rings true ... Coy's fourth book in the '4 for 4' series nets a win.” —Children's Literature
Children's Literature - Bonita Herold
Jackson plays basketball. He worries about wins, losses, and whether the star player, one of his best friends, is going to abandon the school team and leave him and his buddies in the lurch. Life isn't so easy in middle school. Simple actions, like telling a friend an assignment or leaving homework in your locker, result in detentions. And detentions mean trouble—maybe even double trouble, as his divorced parents want to make sure Jackson's not goofing off under each other's watch. Then there is the homework—tons and tons of homework. Who can fit in anything else? With weekly basketball games thrown in, who can go to a wedding, even if it is his mother's? Working together as a team both on and off the court, Jackson and his friends face the bullies, the fears, and the girls. Yes, the girls. This appealing story about friendships rings true with its focus on the complicated life of a sixth-grade boy. There's no foul here—Coy's fourth book in the "4 for 4" series nets a win. Reviewer: Bonita Herold

Product Details

Square Fish
Publication date:
4 for 4 Series , #4
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.56(w) x 8.52(h) x 0.56(d)
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Take Your Best Shot

I'm having a terrible day.
This morning, the bus driver drove off even though he could see me running to catch the bus. I had to ask Dad to give me a ride, and he was angry because he'd been telling me to hurry at breakfast.
In math, Mr. Tedesco gave me detention for talking even though I was only telling my friend Quincy what the assignment was. Tedesco didn't listen to me and threatened to double the detention if I kept protesting.
In the hall, a huge eighth grader slammed into me from behind and called me sixer trash and told me to watch where I was going.
Then, in language arts, Ms. Tremont gave me another detention because I couldn't find my homework and stoppedme when I tried to convince her that I must have left it in my locker.
"Homework needs to be here at Longview Middle School, Jackson, not someplace else," she said, and some people laughed.
Now in gym class, Mr. Tieg is making us run three laps around the track and timing us even though it's freezing outside.
"This stinks," I say to Trenton Cromarty.
"Tell me about it."
"No talking," Tieg barks out.
On the other side of the track, Diego Jimenez is in the lead. That's more bad news. Our basketball team, the Jets, has its first game in a week, and we're playing this year on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Diego works on his uncle's roofing crew on Saturdays so he's going to miss half the games.
"Pick up the pace, slackers," Tieg shouts. He's a former Marine who thinks gym should be like boot camp.
I keep plodding around the track. Nothing's going right. Gym was my favorite class back in elementary school when we played games. Now in middle school, it's one of my worst. Tieg said running would warm us up, but he's wrong. I feelso cold my skin might fall off. I might be the first kid ever to get frostbite in gym class in November.

At lunch, my friends and I sit at our table in the back of the cafeteria and practice signing our autographs with black Sharpies for when we're famous. Isaac Wilkins takes a bite of stuffed-crust pizza and a gooey cheese string hangs down his chin.
"Looks like snot," my best friend, Gig, says.
"It's cheese." Isaac grabs it and eats it.
"It's not. It's snot." Gig shakes up his chocolate-milk carton.
"Why are you doing that?" Diego asks.
"It tastes better when it's bubbly, Padre." Gig, whose full name is Spencer Milroy, uses Diego's nickname. He tried to get us all to use nicknames at the start of school, but like a lot of his ideas, nobody else joined in.
Diego and Isaac experiment with different styles on their autographs, but mine all look alike. I turn to Diego. "Is there any way you can play in our games on Saturdays?"
"No way." He puts extra loops on the z of Jimenez. "My uncle won't let me miss a day of work."
Mr. Norquist, our assistant principal with the thin moustache, walks by, and Gig lets out a big sigh. Norquist grabsCody Bauer and Lance Dahlgren, two big hockey players from the next table, and escorts them down to the office. Gig sighs heavily again.
"What are you doing?" Isaac asks.
"Don't you know, Ike? Norquist's first name is Cy, short for Cyrus." Gig sighs again. "It's funny to sigh every time he goes by."
"You're weird," Isaac says and nobody disagrees.
"Why's your mom here, Julio?" Gig asks me, using my name from Spanish class.
I turn around to look but don't see her.
"Got ya." Gig laughs.
"That's really immature." I put salsa on my taco.
"No, it's not," Gig says. "It's funny."
Quincy Pitman and Dante Lewis, who played football with us, set their trays down.
"Sorry about that detention in math," Quincy says.
"Sorry enough to take it for me?" I bite into my taco.
"Not that sorry," he says.
Dante sits down across from Isaac, two basketball stars at the same table. "We're still looking for another shooter on the traveling team. You should think about it," Dante says.
Isaac shakes his head no.
"Why not?"
"I promised my friends I'd play on the Jets with them."
"But the traveling team is so much better," says Quincy, who was Isaac's favorite receiver in football. "If we had you, we could win the league."
"No." Isaac takes his last bite of pizza. "Diego, Gig, Jackson, and I promised each other that we'd stay together this year."
"But we need you," Dante says.
"We need him more," I say. "With Isaac, nobody's going to beat us."
"Think about it." Quincy opens up his milk.
"I've already decided," Isaac says.
I peel my tangerine and am glad Isaac's being so clear about sticking with our deal to stay together.

In FACS, which stands for family and consumer science, Mrs. Randall is reviewing true or false questions that might be on our quiz. "When finished eating, you should put the silverware on the plate. Raise your hand if you think that's true," she says in her Alabama accent.
Isaac raises his hand and so does my friend Ruby, so I do, too. I watch Ruby, who's got her reddish brown hair pulledback in a ponytail and is wearing a tan sweater that looks good on her. She's drawing on the front of her notebook, which has her name on it in big red letters and three words underneath:

Act ... Sing ... Love ...
"That's true," Mrs. Randall says. "Here's another one. A left-handed person should rearrange the settings to the other side."
I raise my hand for false with everybody else. It's not fair to lefties, but lots of things aren't fair.
"Two more," Mrs. Randall says. "True or false? It is acceptable to put your forearms on the table."
Isaac and I both vote false, but Ruby votes true.
"True," Mrs. Randall says. "No elbows on the table, but forearms are okay."
Ruby looks over at me and smiles, and I smile back. No matter how bad the day's going, things feel better when she's around.
"Last one, y'all." Mrs. Randall checks the clock. "It's all right to cut up all your meat at once."
Caleb says something about meat in back, and some kids burst out laughing.
"This isn't funny," Mrs. Randall says. "Etiquette is important. If you do well on the quiz tomorrow, we'll make smoothies. If not, we'll spend the rest of the period reviewing table manners."
The bell rings and we all scramble up.
"False," Mrs. Randall shouts. "Don't cut up all your meat at once."
Isaac and I walk out of FACS together.
"You're not thinking about playing with those guys on the traveling team, are you?"
"Don't worry," he says. "I'm sticking with you."
TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT. Copyright © 2012 by John Coy.

Meet the Author

John Coy is the aware-winning author of picture books (including Night Driving, illustrated by Peter McCarty), young adult novels, and the 4 for 4 middle-grade series. He live in Minneapolis and travels to schools nationaly and internationally.

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Take Your Best Shot 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Writing contest Chapter 1/2 Once an fart thinked it will ne lots funny if he poop i afraid of snakes dogs spiders clowns amd exersize. Is dis good book Duz bob win prize Me wants ice cream kake mmm ice cream lake
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was so awesoommee!!!!!!!!!!!!
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
The last book in the 4 for 4 series, this book easily stands alone. Four childhood friends are now in middle school, living for basketball and knowing that their years of playing together will make this year's team a winner. But middle school can mean trouble with teachers due to differing expectations and the boys need to step up to the plate in order to ensure playing time. When the best player, Isaac, is offered the opportunity to play for a different team, Jackson is sure his team will stay together. But changes are on the horizon. A good middle-grade read about loyalty, teamwork, and the angst which sometimes comes with middle school. Thanks to Puget Sound Council for this review copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ant-Man More than 1 year ago
Good book!