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The Amazing World of Gumball Vol. 1: Fairy Tale Trouble by Ben Bocquelet
The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Curse of the Arctic Star by Carolyn Keene
Demon Book 1 by Jason Shiga
The Dragon That Lived Under Manhattan by E.W. Hildick
The Drowning Spool by Monica Ferris
Fenway and Hattie by Victoria J. Coe
Ghostbusters International by Erik Burnham
Graveyard Slot by Michelle Schusterman
Hip Hop Family Tree Book 4: 1984-1985 by Ed Piskor
How to Avoid Extinction by Paul Acampora
Imagine a World by Rob Gonsalves
It's a Tiger by David La Rochelle
Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown
The Lost Compass by Joel N. Ross
The Magic Mirror by Susan Hill Long
The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin by Elinor Teele
Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Ottoline and the Purple Fox by Chris Riddell
Pouncing on Murder by Laurie Cass
Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
The Soprano's Last Song by Irene Adler
Stealing the Game by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld
The Underdogs by Sara Hammel

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2 stars: OK
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Stealing the Game: 11/13/16

Stealing the Game by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Stealing the Game by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld is a basketball themed tween book about making the right choices. It opens with Chris, an eighth grader, coming to realize he's gotten himself into a whole bunch of trouble.

The book rewinds to let the reader see what events lead up to Chris being pulled out of class with a police escort. If this had been written thirty or forty years ago the story would have been a straight up cautionary tale about gangs, drugs, and peer pressure. The golden brother would have fallen off the path of righteousness and would be now in the clutches of a local gang who now wanted to recruit the younger brother.

The book is set up to play on those expectations as if the only option for a black boy from the city was to join a gang or to escape on a sports scholarship. But there's more going on here as best friend Theo helps Chris discovers. Once back to the opening scene, the reader has enough information to expect a different sort of outcome.

I have to admit I was too sold on original set up and my expectations of a cliched story. Therefor the ending took me by surprise and pleasantly so.

Four stars

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