Review Blog

Jul 01 2014

Athlete vs. Mathlete - Double dribble by W.C. Mack

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Bloomsbury, 2013. ISBN 9781599909387.
(Ages: 9-12) Seventh-grade twins Russ and Owen are very different from each other, in looks and personalities. While Owen is a natural at sports, Russ feels more at home with numbers. They don't even look alike. Finally they discover something in common, and Russ joins the basketball team. A new set of problems arise though in the form of identical twins Mitch and Marcus. These new boys are all-rounders, with a flair for sports and academia, leaving both Russ and Owen feeling jealous and insecure. After and unfortunate accident however, they realise that Mitch and Marcus only succeed when working as a team. Russ and Owen must decide whether to use this to their advantage to reclaim their place in the team.
As with the original Athlete vs. Mathlete book, this has alternating chapters in the voices of the two boys. Much of the content of Owen's chapters centres around the action on the basketball court, which may become a bit tedious for readers not interested in the sport. Kids who do enjoy sports however will be able to relate to Owen's passion, disappointment and insecurities as he faces the possibility of being 'benched.' The boys face a moral dilemma which is resolved a bit too quickly, but without becoming preachy and off-putting. Conflicts are also resolved a little too easily to ring true to many readers. In general, this title will be a welcome refuge for students wanting to focus on sport fiction.
Donella Reed

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