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Toby Wheeler: Eighth-Grade Benchwarmer by…
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Toby Wheeler: Eighth-Grade Benchwarmer

by Thatcher Heldring

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Reviewed by Julie M. Prince for TeensReadToo.com

Life is simple. Toby Wheeler is just a gym rat playing pickup ball at the rec center with his best buddy JJ. But, things seem different lately. JJ is spending more and more time with his new friends instead of Toby.

Determined to hang onto his buddy, Toby joins the school's basketball team at the encouragement of the new coach. Maybe this way, he'll get to see more of JJ, since he's a basketball star. But, it seems like the only person Toby is seeing more of is the coach's daughter, Megan.

Other players on the team are encouraging Toby to stay away from Coach's daughter if he wants to be anything but a benchwarmer. This seems like good advice, except that Megan is the only girl he can talk to without turning into a clumsy, awkward fool.

This debut novel will definitely score with its readers, as Toby is just the kind of clueless but lovable character that middle-schoolers are sure to identify with. He navigates everything from losing friends and figuring out how to deal with girls to relearning things he thought he already knew.

Basketball fans will get their fair share of trash talk when Toby faces off against his rival, Vinny Pesto, on the court and off. Toby may be clueless in some areas, but when the clock runs down, he knows it's time to take a shot.

Heldring's style is easy and fun to read. I look forward to more books by this fabulous new author! ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 13, 2009 |
Young basketball player seeks fame and learns a hard lesson about being part of a team. ( )
  wooldridgep | Nov 23, 2008 |
Toby Wheeler plays basketball in the rec center. His best friend is the star of the school basketball team. When Toby is asked to join the team, his self-confidence falters with with the new stern coach. It doesn't help things that he develops a crush on the coach's daughter. Toby is forced to sit out most of the games, but he soon learns the value of working as a team. This would be a very good book for boy basketball player and is recommended by Phil Jackson, head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. ( )
  delias | Mar 7, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0440421837, Paperback)

When Toby Wheeler has a chance to join the junior high basketball team, he’s eager to prove he can keep up with his best friend, JJ. But practice doesn’t go quite as Toby has planned, and when the coach announces the lineup, Toby’s hopes of playing ball with JJ are history: he’s an eighth-grade benchwarmer!

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:42 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

When Toby finally decides to join the middle school basketball team, he does not anticipate the changes that will occur in his relationship with his best friend JJ, who is the team's star player, as well as in other areas of his life.

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