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Perpetual Check by Rich Wallace

Perpetual Check

by Rich Wallace

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Summary: Perpetual Check by Rich Wallace is about two brothers, Zeke and Randy Mansfield, and their relationship with not just each other, but also their father. Zeke is a high school senior, a good soccer player, and a natural chess player that started beating his father at the age of six. Zeke can beat almost anybody, except his little brother. Randy on the other hand is a high school freshman, he’s a little pudgy with a haircut paralleling a Cub Scout, he likes to make up words, and he’s a chess whiz that beats his brother nine times out of ten. But this time, tension runs high since both Zeke and Randy have qualified for a major high school regional championship. If the boys bring everything they’ve got and play their best, then it could quite possibly sit one against the other. Their father is there from the beginning, putting more pressure on the boys, coaching from the sidelines and intimidating everyone until they break or try too hard. Now it’s time to see who wins, who loses, and who is loyal.

Review: This wasn’t the best book, but it wasn’t the worst either. Knowledge of chess would have been really helpful, because it can get a little confusing when they are talking about the pieces and the moves if you don’t know anything about chess. Each chapter goes back and forth between perspectives, starting with Zeke. That can also be confusing at first, since you have to continue reading the chapter to know who is talking; but later their personalities show through enough to recognize who is “speaking.” There are some conflicts between the brothers that seem trivial, but then you remember they are brothers and it’s understandable. It’s an extremely quick read, something that can be read in one sitting, seeing as it is only 112 pages. I usually like reading from a male perspective, but this is just not a book with much character development or really story. I can’t say I would recommend this to most people, I would recommend this for someone younger, male, and into chess; but probably not most females. ( )
  HarlequinTwilight | Nov 7, 2009 |
Reviewed by Allison Fraclose for TeensReadToo.com

Two brothers. One championship.

Both Zeke and Randy Mansfield have made it to the Northeast Regional Pennsylvania High School Chess Championship. Zeke, the overly confident senior who succeeds in soccer, baseball, and tennis, was the top chess player in their school before Randy entered as a freshman. He's the one their father calls "Ace," and their father's obsessive coaching has turned Zeke's bravado into a weapon that he intends to wield during the tournament.

For Randy, the slightly overweight freshman who makes up words for fun, chess is something that comes naturally, and he doesn't let the fact that he's beaten his older brother nine times out of ten effect his expectations for the tournament.

As the championship progresses, and more talented players are eliminated, it becomes clear that the Mansfield brothers will be facing off against each other in the semifinals. With their father on the sidelines, more excited and competitive than both of them about this match, each brother begins to realize that perhaps their strategies toward chess - and life - aren't so different and incompatible after all.

No matter who wins, this tournament is bound to bring them closer, and offer an understanding that each of them had never thought possible.

I honestly never thought that I'd find a story about a chess match so exciting and compelling. Although one does not need to be a skilled chess player to enjoy this quick, endearing read, it would help the reader to have a basic knowledge of the pieces and workings of the game to increase their enjoyment of this tale. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 12, 2009 |
For a thin book, this story covers a lot of ground. It's about two brothers, competing against each other for both the chess title and their father's approval. While they can't both get what they think they want, they do grow closer during the process, which takes place overnight. ( )
  elizardkwik | Aug 2, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375840583, Hardcover)

Randy is a chubby ninth grader with a Cub Scout hair cut who guesses M&M colors with his eyes closed and makes up words. He’s also a chess whiz who has defeated his older brother Zeke in nine of their last ten matches. Zeke is a high school senior, a soccer champ, and a chess natural who can beat just about anyone if he decides to really concentrate. So why is his loser little brother the better athlete, the better chess player, and the first to have a girlfriend?

The competition heightens when both Randy and Zeke qualify for the Northeast Regional of the Pennsylvania High School Chess Championships (Randy is seeded, Zeke is not)—and play their way right into a brother-tobrother final round. Told in alternating points of view between brothers, Rich Wallace’s new novel brings to life one of America’s favorite pastimes in a suspenseful story about competition and family loyalty.

Rich Wallace is the author of several books for young adults, including One Good Punch, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; and Wrestling Sturbridge, an ALA Quick Pick. He lives in Pennsylvania.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:03 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Brothers Zeke and Randy participate in an important chess tournament, playing against each other while also trying to deal with their father's intensely competetive tendencies.

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