cover image Beyond Lucky

Beyond Lucky

Sarah Aronson. Dial, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3520-0

Aronson skillfully dodges the predictability of sports-themed books by creating multilayered characters and an intriguing whodunit involving a valuable missing rookie card. Twelve-year-old goalie Ari Fish desperately wants to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Sam, and hometown hero Wayne Timcoe, each of whom led their Somerset Valley soccer teams to greatness. As a kid who firmly believes in horoscopes, pregame rituals, and luck, Ari is sure he's hit the jackpot when he and his best friend, Mac, find a rare Wayne Timcoe rookie card. But things quickly go from "beyond lucky" to wretched when the card is stolen. Mac, a hotshot player with a troubled family life, and Parker, already shunned because she's the only girl on the team, accuse each other of stealing it, and Ari is caught in the middle. Aronson (Head Case) includes a lot of fun on-field action, but the off-field story is just as interesting: concern mounts for Sam, who's fighting wildfires in California, and Ari, Mac, and Parker's relationships grow increasingly complicated. Aronson's graceful storytelling will keep even nonsoccer buffs turning pages. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. (June)