Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Stealing the Game by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld

Chris is a quiet kid. He keeps his head down and doesn't stir the pot.  Chris' parents have high expectations for him.  They expect him to go to law school like his older brother Jax, who Chris looks up to.  But then Jax turns up, apparently having dropped out of law school and gotten involved in some pretty questionable things.  Chris is confused.  Something doesn't seem right.  This isn't the brother he knows.  Has Jax gotten himself into something bad?  Or is something else going on?  Chris has never thought of himself as the smart kid who could figure things out.  But this is something he's willing to take on.

What we have here is mystery story with a good dose of sports action.  Chris and his friends all play basketball, and one of the shady things Jax does is set up Chris and his friends to play a game against another team, a team who turns out to be way older and bigger than they are.

The story has plenty of action and excitement.  Aside from the basketball games, there are blow-ups with family and friends, elaborately staged break-ins, amateur sleuthing, and more sports action.  Chris gains confidence throughout the book, realizing he's not just the dumb younger brother who will never live up to his parent's expectations.  He's got a lot going for himself, and he finds the courage to speak up and show what he's good at.

What's actually going on with Jax seemed a little far-fetched and out of the realm of likelihood for me, but I think it will work just fine for middle school boys, who will find the story exciting and probably won't focus on plausibility so much.

I will definitely get this book for my library, along with the first one in the series, Sasquatch in the Paint.

Stealing the Game comes out February 1, 2015.

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