The Fifth Quarter (The Fifth Quarter #1)

Mike Dawson. First Second, $21.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-250-24418-5
The first in a series about less-than-star athletes, Dawson’s graphic novel documents the on- and off-court drama of a fourth grade girls’ basketball team with sincerity, humor, and strong character development. Lori Block is a passionate player and a good shooter, but she and her friend Sophia, nicknamed the “double dribble twins,” rarely play except for during the “fifth quarter,” when the “not-so-good” players take the court. Unlike Sophia, Lori takes basketball seriously, and tensions run high in their friend group when fifth grade travel team tryouts loom. Lori views another girl as a friendship threat, the pals deem Lori “mean” when she reacts defensively or sensitively, and it doesn’t help that Lori’s mother is running against another friend’s father for town council. But a trip to overnight basketball camp helps Lori become a better friend and player. Though nonwhite characters, present on the court, are largely relegated to the story’s sidelines, Dawson populates his contemporary world—drawn in confidently cartoony illustrations—with busy adults (Lori’s stay-at-home dad displays parenting overwhelm) and tweens who struggle believably to navigate complex social situations that feel increasingly high-stakes. Ages 8–12. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/11/2021
Release date: 05/11/2021
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 240 pages - 978-1-250-24417-8
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