cover image After the Shot Drops

After the Shot Drops

Randy Ribay. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-328-70227-2

Told in alternating first-person narratives, this layered and emotionally rich story gracefully captures its protagonists’ external pressures and inner conflicts. Aware of his parents’ financial struggles, high school sophomore and basketball star Bunny accepts a full scholarship to St. Sebastian’s, a private school, hoping to increase his chances of getting a full ride to college. His best friend Nasir views this choice as a defection and cuts ties with Bunny. Ribay (An Infinite Number of Parallel Universes) conveys both boys’ isolation: Bunny struggles as one of the few black students in his school (“Most days I don’t feel like anything more than their mascot”), and Nasir wrestles with rejection and frustration, particularly as he compares Bunny’s good fortune with the dire circumstances facing his cousin Wallace: “He’s got the world looking out for him. I’m the only one in Wallace’s corner.” As the boys take tentative steps to salvage their friendship, they navigate high-stakes choices and consider the value of loyalty, integrity, and sacrifice in a story driven by fast-paced drama on and off the court. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kaylee Davis, Dee Mura Literary. (Mar.)