New York Times bestselling author Robert B. Parker?s first novel for young readers
There is something evil in the air ; Bobby senses it. Who is that man he saw arguing with his pretty new English teacher? Bobby knows he should mind his own business, but times are confusing. World War II just ended, and the world is changing? Bobby?s world, especially. There?s Joanie, for one?why does being her friend feel awkward? And then there are his buddies, the junior varsity Edenville Owls?basketball players in need of a leader. Can they help each other off the court as well as they can on it? They will need to.
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Robert B. Parker was the author of more than fifty books. He died in January 2010.From Booklist:
Edgar-winning-author Parker, whose characters are among the most enduring in the crime-fiction canon, offers his first novel for a young audience in this nostalgic story, set in 1945. In a small, coastal Massachusetts town, eighth-grader Bobby witnesses a parking-lot altercation between his pretty new teacher and a shady-looking fellow. Then Miss Delaney comes to school with facial bruises, and Bobby, convinced that the unsavory man is to blame, recruits his best friends to protect her. Bobby has also organized his friends into a basketball team, the Owls, and with only Bobby as a stand-in coach, the boys begin to compete and dream of winning a local tournament. Readers without any basketball background may be lost in the lengthy game specifics, but the team's intrepid energy on the court echoes the Owls' determination to help their teacher and solve the mystery of her troubling past. The appearance of a few derogatory racial terms, although true to the characters' voices, may jar contemporary readers, who may also skip over purposefully inserted, stream-of-consciousness passages filled with historical and cultural references. The poignant, well-articulated coming-of-age moments deepen the heart-pounding suspense, though, and Bobby's questions of what it means to be honorable and to feel attraction to a female friend will draw readers as much as will the exciting mystery. See the accompanying Story behind the Story for Parker's take on writing for youth. Gillian Engberg
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