Middle school sports hounds Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are back in another suspenseful romp. This time their reporters' beat is the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament. Our young reporters are just settling into the excitement when something inconceivable happens: Just minutes before her second-round match, young Russian tennis phenom Natalia Makarova simply vanishes. Her unexplained disappearance generates a full-court press of media speculation: Did the star player flip out -- or has she been kidnapped? Needless to say, with a keen nose for news, our fledgling journalists are on the story.
The teen reporters who uncovered scandal at college basketball's Final Four in Last Shot wangle new assignments to cover the U.S. Open tennis championships. Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson find themselves pulled into investigating the disappearance of Nadia Symanova, a Russian with a powerful forehand and supermodel looks. Despite the onslaught of media that converges on Queens, it takes the two 13-year-olds to untangle the mystery, and uncover the corruption fueling it. Sportswriter and adult novelist Feinstein (A Season on the Brink) delivers a name-dropping, insider account of professional tennis politics-TV announcer Bud Collins is a character-and does not pull his punches. "Agents are responsible for most of the ills of tennis, and the ills of tennis are endless," his Collins says-and those ills apparently include tennis prodigies who forfeit their education to pursue million-dollar shoe contracts, and players who shriek when striking the ball. Sports agents come under the harshest scrutiny. There may be a lot of commentary here, but the tension continually escalates, and ends with a hint of romance between the protagonists that suggests at least one more adventure for Susan Carol and Stevie. Ages 10-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Rogue reporters Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson, whom readers admired in Last Shot (Knopf, 2005/VOYA February 2005), are back in a marvelous new adventure that exposes the world of tennis. Sports fans first, their writing skills have developed in sports journalism, and here Stevie and Susan Carol are given another chance to hone their talents, acquiring press credentials and moving to New York City for the annual U.S. Open. Conveniently Susan Carol's Uncle Brendan has become a sports agent and invites both teens to stay with him on Riverside Drive. Their mentor, Bobby Kelleher, offers this awesome opportunity and affords the proper guidance and protection for these young super sleuths to meet and mix with the players and the media. Actual players, game officials, and newscasters make cameo appearances, and tennis fans will enjoy reading about Roddick, Nadel, and the Williams sisters as well as Bud Collins, Mary Carillo, and Mike Lupica. Authentic tennis jargon, sports agencies, and the competitive nature of the pro-circuit are accurately depicted around the kidnapping of a fictitious teen Russian player, Nadia Symanova. The draw is set, and the schedule of play cannot be altered. Enter Evelyn Rubin, another up-and-coming teen player who makes an outstanding showing and befriends our reporters. Conniving adults with mercenary goals are the catalyst for this whodunit, as the plot takes some unbelievable twists before justice wins out. Recommend this title to all teens because these detectives demonstrate brave friendships and a sparkle of romance, too.
John Feinstein tells a very good story. Although it is not always probable or even laudable when thirteen-year olds take cabs and subways and prowl around New York City alone (and no, it is not their hometown), Feinstein successfully weaves international intrigue, danger, and adolescent crushes into his first young adult novel. As a well-respected journalist and author of numerous nonfiction sports books, Feinstein brings a high degree of credibility to the background information he includes about both professional tennis and sports journalism. The two young protagonists learn to maneuver their way quite successfully through the often ugly world of agents, commercial sponsorships, and tournaments. The story is slow to take off and often includes enough extraneous detail to read like a play-by-play account, but this title will still be a good choice for readers who thrive on tennis, novels of suspense, or dreams of being a great sportswriter. 2006, Alfred A. Knopf, Ages 10 to 16.
Gr 6-9-In Last Shot (Knopf, 2005), 13-year-old amateur sportswriters Susan Carol Anderson and Stevie Thomas uncovered a plot to throw a championship game in the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans. Now they meet once again, this time in New York City to help cover the U.S. Open Tennis tournaments. Susan Carol's uncle, a new agent for an up-and-coming female tennis player, lives in Manhattan and offers them a place to stay. When the Russian tennis sweetheart Nadia Symanova is kidnapped right before her first match, Stevie begins to suspect that Susan Carol's uncle is involved. The mystery maintains a genuine level of suspense throughout the story. Many superfluous figures are introduced, and it can be difficult to keep them straight, especially when they are referred to by first name in one chapter and last name in another. Although the main characters are predictable, the use of kid-friendly terminology, contemporary personalities in the tennis world, and factual information about the game may appeal to savvy tennis fans.-D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are back. Having foiled a plot at the NCAA Final Four tournament in Last Shot (2005), they are in New York City for the U.S. Open tennis tournament, and once again there's trouble. Rising superstar Nadia Symanova disappears, setting off a media frenzy and embroiling the young reporters in a conspiracy involving two kidnappings, a mugging, the FBI, ruined reputations and a bit of romance. The story puts readers behind the scenes, rubbing shoulders with celebrity tennis greats and popular television journalists. Veteran sportswriter Feinstein serves a winner here, deftly blending sports, mystery and social commentary. The prose is taut, the dialogue snappy, and layers of intrigue are laid down like expert drop shots. The mystery will hold readers to the very end, culminating in an exciting match and surprise arrests. A natural pairing with Mike Lupica's Travel Team (2004) and Heat (April 2006). (Fiction. 10+)