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Playing Without the Ball
by Rich Wallace
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440229723, Mass Market Paperback)There are dozens of detailed, play-by-play descriptions of basketball games in Playing Without the Ball--good news for basketball fans; perhaps bad news for the less enthralled. Rich Wallace, author of Wrestling Sturbridge, is a sportswriter and coach, and it shows. He writes with vigor and authority about the inner workings of athletic competition and the progress of a game but in this book, fails to connect those elements with the plot and convince us that the outcome matters. But never mind. For some teens, as one of his characters says, "There's never enough basketball."
Jay McLeod is "the only 17-year-old around who's living alone"--in an apartment over a bar while he finishes his senior year of high school. His mom left when he was nine, and his dad opted out early last year to live his own life, leaving his almost-grown son in the casual care of the bar owner. In the evenings Jay has a job downstairs in the kitchen, frying up wings and egg rolls while other people are partying in the next room. But it's not too bad. Jay has time for lots of basketball for its own sake, and the freedom to check out girls and see where that leads.
Rich Wallace has a keen ear for the nuances of young sexual encounters, and his female characters are comfortable with themselves in their easy athleticism--both elements score points in a story that nevertheless bounces off the rim. (Ages 14 and older) --Patty Campbell
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:36 -0400)
Feeling abandoned by his parents, who have gone their separate ways and left him behind in a small Pennsylvania town, seventeen-year-old Jay finds hope for the future in a church-sponsored basketball team and a female friend.
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