Legacy and the Queen
In this sports-themed fantasy debut created by Matthew in collaboration with Kobe Bryant, a girl must win a tennis tournament in order to save the orphanage run by her father and help her best friend, who faces factory work instead of school. Despite her lack of formal sports training, Legacy Petrin, 12, has enormous raw talent and drive, and earns a scholarship to a prestigious national academy founded by a former tennis champion known as the Queen. In order to succeed against her more privileged competitors, though, Legacy must make new friends and allies and master her innate magical abilities, which are shared by all great tennis players in the Republic of Nova. The tennis action takes a backseat to worldbuilding and explanations of the magic system (though the combination of magic and tennis offers wonderful concepts in the form of building endurance against things with fangs and attitude), and the plot relies on some predictable turning points. Still, the story of a young heroine who must find friends at a specialized school so that she can prove herself to her privileged critics has plenty of charm, and Legacy is a protagonist worth cheering for. Ages 9–up. (Sept.)
Correction: An earlier version of this review misstated the suggested age range.