cover image The Turnover

The Turnover

Mike Lupica. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5344-2158-5

Lupica’s newest feel-good sports story features dutiful 12-year-old Lucas Winston who, having lost his father to cancer when he was an infant, looks to his grandfather for guidance, especially when it comes to basketball. Now, with Gramps returning to coach the Claremont Wolves, Lucas is confident that their talented team will dominate the season. When Lucas is assigned a biographical essay to write, he knows immediately that he wants to write about Gramps, who turns him down, unwilling to share anything about his earlier life. As Lucas pokes around, then learns the startling truth about Gramps’s college career, he questions everything he thought he knew about his beloved grandfather, including whether he’s the best coach for the team. Though the story’s trajectory matches Lupica’s tried-and-true story arc, his familiar nuts-and-bolts writing style will appeal to even struggling readers, while play-by-play descriptions of the on-court action add excitement and tension. In true Lupica style, though, the meat of the story happens off the court, where a relatable kid faces realistic challenges that young fans will know only too well. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Esther Newberg, ICM Partners. (May) [/em]