cover image How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy

How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy

Crystal Allen, HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-199272-8

Cocky, sharp-tongued, and a known prankster, 13-year-old Lamar Washington is a protagonist readers won't soon forget. Lamar lives for bowling, the sport his mother helped him discover before she died of cancer. Hoping to earn some money—both to court "superfine" Makeda Phillips and to buy a "Pro Thunder" ball before his bowling idol, Bubba Sanders, comes to town—Lamar starts hustling games with a local bad boy. Lamar's father lavishes much of his attention on Lamar's older brother, "Xavier the Basketball Savior," and after Xavier, who has stopped taking his anger medication, beats up Lamar, Lamar retaliates by pulling the fire alarm at Xavier's big game. The fallout from this prank is extensive, and Lamar digs deep into himself to make reparations to those he's hurt. Debut author Allen gives Lamar a singular (and often comically misguided) way with words ("Girl, you look like a big piece of Bubblicious," he tells Makeda, who is less than impressed by the compliment). Under all the braggadocio is a boy with a big heart, and from the first sentence Lamar will have readers hooked. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)