Miracle on 49th Street

Mike Lupica, Author . Philomel $17.99 (246p) ISBN 978-0-399-24488-9

Lupica's latest follows his sports-themed bestsellers (Travel Team ; Heat ) with less sports and more theme. The crackerjack opening finds 12-year-old Molly Parker craftily stalking Boston Celtics superstar Josh Cameron by skipping out on a Kids Day fan event and hiding beside his SUV. Molly has two bombs to drop on Cameron who, until now, has led a charmed existence. The first is that his college sweetheart, Jen, who he hasn't seen since she left for her junior year abroad, is dead from cancer; the second is that Molly is his daughter. The narrative tension produced by a millionaire sports star, who's sure he's being played, and Molly, who swipes his cap knowing a few stray strands of hair are all that's needed for a DNA test, fizzles when Molly decides she wants Josh to accept her as his daughter without medical proof. Still Lupica is an extraordinarily smooth writer with a great ear for witty repartee (at times perhaps too witty, for a 12-year-old character). The lack of sports action here makes this unlikely to be as popular with sports fans as the previous books, but Molly's emotional yearning for a parent, the humor provided by her sidekick, Sam, and the inside-the-Garden view of the Celtics, will carry many straight through to the Hollywood ending. Ages 10-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 11/06/2006
Release date: 11/01/2006
Genre: Children's
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