Basketball is in Cameron Flint’s blood. His brothers are taking the state by storm with their play on the school’s varsity team. Cam hopes he can do the same one day, but he has a few years to go. Now that he’s finally old enough to join the local league, Cam is eager to live up to the family legacy there. He has the talent, but there’s only one problem: Cam’s teammates have barely played basketball before. Can Cameron’s explosive play elevate his team to the level of league champions or will he fail to live up to the family name? Crunch Time Cam is a fast-paced, action-packed sports novel for young readers that reminds us that basketball is a team sport.
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Even though it was clear where Cam got his sense of determination and perseverance from as he aimed to be the best and win the season, his character, as well as others, could have been further fleshed out. The story seemed very much on the surface at times, and it would have been nice to delve more into the inner workings of some of the secondary characters, like Cam's best friend Braxton, in order to more fully develop the relationships among the characters. One way to do this would be through more showing rather than telling. The story did a nice job explaining what was happening, but more action sequences coupled with added dialogue rather than quite as much description would help present readers with a more thoroughly enjoyable reading experience. It is nice to feel like you are in the book, and it seems that readers might often feel like they are on the outside of Cam's life looking in rather than being right there with him.
All in all, Lyons showed through 'Crunch Time Cam' that valuable lessons can be learned, even when you least expect them. From learning how to be independent on the court to figuring out how to best work on a team, the importance of friendship, empathy, and maintaining focus are only three of the themes that this book captures in its short but sweet 111 pages.