cover image Rez Ball

Rez Ball

Byron Graves. Heartdrum, $19.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06316-037-8

Basketball means everything to Ojibwe 15-year-old Tre Brun, who lives on the Red Lake Nation Reservation in Minnesota. What started as a bonding activity between him and his older brother Jaxon, who was their high school’s basketball star and a pillar of their reservation community, becomes his life’s purpose following Jaxon’s fatal car accident. After trying out for—and unexpectedly making—his school’s varsity basketball team, despite his belief that he’d never be a good enough player, Tre determines to win the state championship in Jaxon’s honor. But interpersonal challenges involving his and his family’s unresolved grief, his developing connection with a new two-spirit student, and issues with his documentarian best friend drive Tre to distraction, jeopardizing his future goals. Can Tre stay true to himself and be present in his own life when he’s stuck in the shadow of his brother’s legacy? Debut author Graves, who is Ojibwe, realistically depicts life living on a reservation via Tre’s earnest first-person POV, and plentiful fast-paced basketball game sequences will appeal to fans of sports fiction. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)