by Myers, Walter Dean

If Harlem high school senior Drew Lawson is going to realize his dream of playing college, then professional, basketball, he will have to improve at being coached and being a team player, especially after a new-white-student threatens to take the scouts' attention away from him.

Harlem teen Drew Lawson thinks that he has "the big-money skills" for the NBA. Now a senior, he plans to play his best game, attract scouts, and earn a scholarship that will, he hopes, lead to the pros. Then his coach begins to favor a new, white player, and Drew struggles to overcome his anger and to maintain his drive. Basketball fans will love the long passages of detailed court action, and Myers extends the sports metaphors into Drew's own questions about the future possibilities for himself and his peers, particularly the struggling young men in his neighborhood, whom he sees as "a bunch of guys in a game. They were falling behind every minute that passed, but they had lost interest in the score." Myers explores his themes with a veteran writer's skill. Passages that could have read as heavy-handed messages come across, instead, as the authentic thoughts of a strong, likable, African American teen whose anxieties, sharp insights, and belief in his own abilities will captivate readers of all backgrounds. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.

Drew Lawson is a basketball player in Harlem with "big-money dreams." He's not about gangs or running the streets, just ball, and he hopes he has more to him than those lost to the streets, enough to carry him to a Division I university and on to the NBA. He just has to live up to his ability. But always, just below the surface, is Drew's awareness of the stoops and street corners where people fall behind on their games and lose interest in the score. Drew has a strong family, including a smart, pretty, sassy sister to keep him focused. Drew knows who he is, and he's intent on not blowing his chances. The author's knowledge of basketball shows in the expertly realized game sequences. There's plenty of basketball here, but, as in any good sports novel, more is going on than the sport; life is the game, and this is a sensitive portrait of a likable young man, his family, city and dreams. A good match with Myers's Monster (1999) and Slam (1996). (Fiction. 11+) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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