cover image All the Things We Never Knew

All the Things We Never Knew

Liara Tamani. Greenwillow, $18.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-265691-9

Texas high school junior basketball star Rex Carrington has a tradition at the free-throw line: blowing a kiss to his mother, who died giving birth to him. On the day his kiss happens to land on 16-year-old Carli, another basketball champion from another school, she passes out, he catches her, and the two form a bond that eventually turns into love. Through poetic, economic prose and alternating points of view, Tamani (Calling My Name) evokes myriad emotions: Rex associates his father’s neglect with blame for Rex’s mother’s death; Carli wants to quit basketball and is devastated over her parents’ recent separation. Though complexities threaten the romance (misunderstandings, family secrets, Rex’s frustrations, and Carli’s reluctance to be open), most prominently shown is its passion (“It’s like we’re two trees secretly sharing nutrients underground, two stars orbiting around all the things there’s no language for”). Readers will be easily swept away by this tale exploring the hearts and souls of two emotionally vulnerable athletes. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Jennifer Carlson, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary. (June) [/em]