Book Review: Takedown

36405733If you like sports books as much as I do, you’ll like Takedown by Laura Shovan–even if you’re not a wrestling fan.

Takedown is told from the points of view of two sixth graders who are assigned as partners on their travel wrestling team: Mikayla (a.k.a. Mickey) and Lev.

Mikayla Delgado is from a wrestling family. Both of her older brothers wrestle, and she loves the sport. But it’s not easy being the only girl on the team.

Lev Sofer just missed qualifying for the Maryland state championships last year, and he’s determined to make it this year. But having a girl for a wrestling partner doesn’t seem likely to help.

The wrestling match scenes in this book are gripping, but the book is about a lot more than just sports training and competition. It’s also about Mikayla and Lev’s sometimes complicated relationships with their families and their friends at school. And it’s about their growing friendship with each other. It’s a very enjoyable read for wrestling and non-wrestling fans alike.

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Book Review: Ghost

Screen Shot 2017-07-01 at 3.19.42 PMGhost by Jason Reynolds is a great book. I raced through it in a single sitting. But I haven’t convinced either of my boys to read it…yet.

They should read it, though. They’d like the narrator and main character, 7th grader Castle Cranshaw (aka Ghost). He’s funny, flawed, observant, and big-hearted. His father is in prison. His mother works long hours in the hospital cafeteria while also studying to be a nurse. Despite his best efforts, he often gets into trouble at school. He loves sunflower seeds and world records. He can tell a compelling tale. And he can run.

They’d also like it because they like sports stories. Even though the sport in question is track (and not baseball), they’d enjoy the descriptions of the practices and the interactions between Ghost and his teammates and coach. Like the best sports stories, this one has its inspirational moments.

At one point, Ghost asks his coach what he hoped track would do for him. His coach replies: “Show you that you can’t run away from who you are, but what you can do is run toward who you want to be.”