This welcome anthology of original stories and poems explores a wide range of emotions and experiences of athletic girls. Since relatively few sports books focus on girls, this gives voice to fresh material and viewpoints. What is it like for a girl to clash with a female coach? What happens when a girl loves football above all other sports and has the physical build to play it? Can a romantic friendship between a girl and boy survive when the girl beats the boy in a tetherball tournament? The short stories and poems hinge on these and similar issues that girls deal with in the world of sports. Macy, whose previous books (Winning Ways: A Photohistory of American Women in Sports, 1996, etc.) have also broken ground in the area of females and sports, has assembled a group of well-known and lesser-known writers, all women with sports in their background. Virginia Euwer Wolff contributes an engaging story of three generations of women involved in the physically demanding sport of synchronized swimming. Jacqueline Woodson, winner of the 2001 Coretta Scott King Author Award, uses a colloquial first-person voice to create Beanie, a girl who excels at stickball but must deal with the jealousy of boys who don’t play as well, while also struggling with her sexuality. Other stories and poems look at soccer, horseback riding, tennis, track, baseball, and more. With its original topics and insights, this thematic anthology should find a place in all libraries that serve middle-schoolers. (Short-story/poetry anthology. 11-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8050-6568-7

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

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Han’s leisurely paced, somewhat somber narrative revisits several beach-house summers in flashback through the eyes of now 15-year-old Isabel, known to all as Belly. Belly measures her growing self by these summers and by her lifelong relationship with the older boys, her brother and her mother’s best friend’s two sons. Belly’s dawning awareness of her sexuality and that of the boys is a strong theme, as is the sense of summer as a separate and reflective time and place: Readers get glimpses of kisses on the beach, her best friend’s flirtations during one summer’s visit, a first date. In the background the two mothers renew their friendship each year, and Lauren, Belly’s mother, provides support for her friend—if not, unfortunately, for the children—in Susannah’s losing battle with breast cancer. Besides the mostly off-stage issue of a parent’s severe illness there’s not much here to challenge most readers—driving, beer-drinking, divorce, a moment of surprise at the mothers smoking medicinal pot together. The wish-fulfilling title and sun-washed, catalog-beautiful teens on the cover will be enticing for girls looking for a diversion. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-6823-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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Certain to provoke controversy and difficult to see as a book for children, who could easily miss the painful point.


After Hitler appoints Bruno’s father commandant of Auschwitz, Bruno (nine) is unhappy with his new surroundings compared to the luxury of his home in Berlin.

The literal-minded Bruno, with amazingly little political and social awareness, never gains comprehension of the prisoners (all in “striped pajamas”) or the malignant nature of the death camp. He overcomes loneliness and isolation only when he discovers another boy, Shmuel, on the other side of the camp’s fence. For months, the two meet, becoming secret best friends even though they can never play together. Although Bruno’s family corrects him, he childishly calls the camp “Out-With” and the Fuhrer “Fury.” As a literary device, it could be said to be credibly rooted in Bruno’s consistent, guileless characterization, though it’s difficult to believe in reality. The tragic story’s point of view is unique: the corrosive effect of brutality on Nazi family life as seen through the eyes of a naïf. Some will believe that the fable form, in which the illogical may serve the objective of moral instruction, succeeds in Boyne’s narrative; others will believe it was the wrong choice.

Certain to provoke controversy and difficult to see as a book for children, who could easily miss the painful point. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2006

ISBN: 0-385-75106-0

Page Count: 224

Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2006

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