Written by Lucy Jane Bledsoe
Reviewed by Michelle R. (age 10)
Eleven-year-old River Borowitz-Jacobs dreams of being a WNBA star. River is devastated when she is planted on the B-team instead of the top A-team. She shows up for the first practice and sees a mess. She sees a clueless mom, who is supposed to be coaching, serving cocoa and cookies instead. Only four girls are on the team, unless you count Meagan, Jessica's little sister. River is shocked! Determined to turn this situation around, the team changes their name to Hoop Girlz and gets rid of their mom coach. Since the team needs a coach they pick Zach, River's brother. With the tournament looming near, the team begins to wonder if they have a chance of bringing home the gold. Can they beat the A-team and prove they are not just a group of second stringers?
The story reminds me of things in my life because I play basketball a lot. I practice frequently because I want to get better and qualify for our Middle School and High School teams. The character, Jamie, who is River's friend, reminds me of myself because she is determined and she is very competitive. Jamie showed these characteristics when she was trying out for the top competitive basketball team. I hope to be as successful as Jamie when I try out for competitive teams.
River, who is the main character in the story, didn't qualify for the top competitive team. This was because she is not as much of a go-getter as Jamie. Her coach explains this to her. While River is playing on the lower level team, she learns to be more competitive and she is able get her head more into the game.
Hoop Girlz is unique because River's brother, Zach, coaches her team. This shows them having a sibling bonding, whereas most books show sibling rivalry. I like this because it shows that brothers and sisters don't always have to compete against each other, they can work together.
I would recommend Hoop Girlz to any kids older than third grade who play sports. Readers who have a sports background will be able to make the best connections with the story. The part when River and Zach go to the haunted house will also interest readers because Zach is more afraid of what could be inside the house than River is. I like this because it is not usual for the girl to be the braver character.