July 31, 2018
Ever since T’Shawn’s dad died, his mother has been struggling to keep the family afloat. So when he’s offered a spot on a prestigious diving team at the local private swim club, he knows that joining would only add another bill to the pile.
But T studies hard and never gets into trouble, so he thinks his mom might be willing to bear the cost… until he finds out that his older brother, Lamont, is getting released early from prison.
Luckily, T’Shawn is given a scholarship, and he can put all his frustration into diving practices. But when criminal activity increases in the neighborhood and people begin to suspect Lamont, T’Shawn begins to worry that maybe his brother hasn’t left his criminal past behind after all.
And he struggles to hold on to the hope that they can put the broken pieces of their damaged relationship back together.
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
This was a positive look at a close knit community that is facing challenges. T'Shawn's family and neighbors watch out for each other, there is a strong church base, and children are interested in education and are well disciplined. There are not many books that show this kind of community, so it was good to see. There are realistic struggles to be faced, but there is a lot of constructive interaction, even when Dontae, T'Shawn and Carmela have a very unpleasant run in with the police. The swim and dive team is interesting, and the racism that T'Shawn has to face is sad but realistic. There's a lot going on (there are also subplots with the homeless shelter at which the family lived, and with Sammy and his pushy parents), but everything is clear and easy to understand.
Sports books are always popular with middle grade readers, and there aren't many on the topic of competitive swimming and diving. This is a great addition if you have a local swim team.
This is a novel that is timely and important. Many of my students love to read about gangs and what they perceive to be life in "ghetto" areas (their words, not mine). This is less heavy than something like Parker Rhodes' Ghost Boys, or Booth's Kinda Like Brothers but still addresses issues of current relevance.
There are no user reviews for this listing.