Finding Forrester

James W. Ellison, Author, Mike Rich, Screenplay by
James W. Ellison, Author, Mike Rich, Screenplay by Newmarket Press $9.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-55704-479-2
Prebound-Glued - 192 pages - 978-0-613-45340-0
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This rather workmanlike novelization of the award-winning Mike Rich screenplay for the current Academy Award- hyped Sean Connery flick was penned by the author of other novels based on the screenplays of Immortal Beloved, Rudy and A Bronx Tale (plus seven original novels, including the award-winning I'm Owen Harrison Harding, and a lengthy list of nonfiction titles). In order to be one of the guys, Jamal Wallace, a fatherless 16-year-old South Bronx African-American basketball phenom, has been keeping his literary ambitions under heavy wraps. Curious about the regular visits of a well-dressed courier in a fancy car to a shadowy figure living in a tenement across from the basketball court, on a dare Jamal climbs in a window to investigate, only to leave his backpack after he is scared into a hasty retreat. When the backpack is tossed back to him a few days later, he finds the writing in his notebooks has been edited. Jamal confronts the recluse and soon discovers he is the legendary 70-year-old William Forrester, who vanished after winning a Pulitzer for his only novel, written while he was still in his 20s. Now mentored by Forrester, Jamal is recruited by a snobby Manhattan prep school for his high SAT scores and basketball moves. Befriended by the pretty daughter of a WASP millionaire, he is riding high when a teacher who failed as a novelist accuses him of plagiarism and his friends desert him. Already a Scholastic Book Club selection, this warmhearted--however clich d and Horatio Algeresque--fable bridges that nebulous and indefinable no-man's-land between YA readers and their parents. (Feb.)
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