cover image Kick


Walter Dean Myers and Ross Workman, HarperTeen, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-200489-5

This book has an intriguing concept: veteran author Myers paired with a teenage fan to write the story of a soccer player in trouble with the law. In their story, Kevin—the 13-year-old son of a police officer killed on duty—was arrested after crashing his friend's father's car. Gerald Brown, a good-hearted sergeant, agrees to look into the case, finding in Kevin "a young man stumbling toward an uncertain future with a boldness that sometimes wasn't even clear to him." Both Brown's and Kevin's voices are convincing and sympathetic, with Kevin struggling to succeed in soccer and Brown dealing with a touchy stomach. However, a far-fetched phone call for help from Kevin's friend's father to Sgt. Brown and a confusing side story about an investigation into possibly exploited workers strain the plot. Even Kevin's ultimate confession about what happened that fateful night feels anticlimactic. Still, readers may find a gratifying parallel between the authors' creative collaboration (the back cover features their first email exchange) and the mutual respect that evolves between the well-developed characters. Ages 14–up. (Feb.)