by Herbach, Geoff

For Adam Reed, basketball is a passport. Adam's basketball skills have taken him from an orphanage in Poland to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota. When he's tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, it justconfirms that basketball is his ticket to the good life: to new friendships, to the girl of his dreams, to a better future.

Basketball is Adam Reed's lifeline after he moves with his adoptive mother, Renata, from Philadelphia to Northrup, Minnesota. Renata adopted Adam from Warsaw after his mother died and his father abandoned him at an orphanage. While Adam excels on the court, school is harder. He doesn't like practicing his English, his classmates bully him, and his one true friend is the school outcast, Barry. When Adam gets the chance to play for an elite AAU team, he learns he's not the only one struggling with being ostracized. The director of the organization that runs Adam's new team is subtly racist against his black players, and Adam has to learn what it means to be black in America (he displays some ignorance about how police treat black kids), and acclimate to a different kind of team playing. Lessons on small-town politics and what it means to be a good friend abound in this well-plotted work. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Adopted from Poland three and a half years ago, Adam decides that basketball may be his "passport to a good life." Originally Adam Sobieski, the white teen is now Adam Reed, his adoptive single mother's name, and life has gotten more complicated. The two of them have moved to a small Minnesota college town from Philadelphia, where Adam first began to learn basketball. With his increased height—he's now 6 feet 6 inches—he is gaining attention and is invited to play with an elite team in the Twin Cities. Teased for his poor English and social awkwardness, Adam has only one friend until Carli Anderson, also a basketball star, enters his life. The green-eyed white girl pushes him in multiple ways, and gradually Adam begins to understand more than just the game. When Adam plays with an all-black team of excellent players, he learns some uncomfortable truths. Class and money, racial injustice, and loyalty to true friends come into focus. The book is written as though Ad am is speaking to readers in broken English that is both unconvincing and unfortunately played for laughs. Nonetheless, Adam is appealing, and Herbach's ability to expand the narrative from solid game play to confronting racial injustice is remarkable. No one here is perfect, and their failures make readers cringe yet root for success. Hoops and so much more. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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