________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 22. . . .February 11, 2011.


Making the Cut. (Game Time).

David Skuy.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2010.
230 pp., pbk., $9.99.
ISBN 978-1-4431-0483-8.

Grades 6-8 / Ages 11-13.

Review by Myra Junyk.

** /4



Without warning, Coach Clark began speaking. "I'd like to extend a warm welcome to all of you, newcomers and returning players. This is the twenty-first year for the Youth Elite Hockey School - but judging from my grey hair I'm sure you know that."

The players laughed politely.

"A lot of people like to focus on the star players who have been here. We've had forty-two NHLers through our doors, and almost two hundred fifty boys have played at the major junior or university level. Sure, I'm proud of that tradition. It's not the point of this camp however."

Clark's powerful frame and the serious way he spoke had caught Charlie's attention, and he listened intently.

"You're here because you earned it, because you represent the best fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds in the Eastern region... It's not about winning or losing, or making it to the NHL. It's about learning about yourself, learning about how to compete and to improve, learning that you have abilities you've never had to use before because you could get by without them. Well, not here. Here you need to get better, and you do that through hard work."

Making the Cut is the third novel in David Skuy's "Game Time" hockey series, and Charlie Joyce gets the opportunity to attend a summer hockey camp for elite athletes. Since his widowed mother is struggling to make ends meet, his sister gives up her drama camp so that he can attend. He is thrilled with the opportunity and the fact that his friends, Scott and Nick, are going with him. However, Jake Wilkenson, the bully who made Charlie's life a nightmare in grade nine, is also going.

     Charlie is determined to enjoy the hockey camp experience. His roommate, Corey, is a fiercely competitive player whose father expects him to become a professional athlete. Charlie's strong hockey skills land him a spot in the coveted Team 1. However, Charlie seems to be having some very bad luck. He is late for the first day; he wins the fitness test but is penalized for forgetting his form; he loses his elbow pads one day and his entire hockey bag another day; his team loses a crucial challenge because of him; and finally, he is accused of stealing a coach's Stanley Cup ring. At first, Charlie cannot believe his bad luck, but then he begins to suspect that someone is out to "get him." When he discovers the real culprit, Charlie is faced with a moral dilemma. Should he reveal the identity of the thief, or stand by a friend in need?

     David Skuy writes action-packed stories about the game of hockey. Readers feel as if they are on the ice with the players because of his detailed descriptions about the action on the rink and the strategy behind hockey games. This kind of narrative will definitely appeal to readers who enjoy playing and watching the game of hockey. However, it is unfortunate that there are several copyediting errors in this novel.

     Charlie Joyce develops his athletic skill and maturity throughout Making the Cut. Faced with Jake and Zane's bullying, Charlie tries to overcome his desire for revenge. His final choice to protect a friend who has harmed him shows that Charlie is courageous and willing to sacrifice his own success to do the right thing. The theme of David Skuy's novel is summed up by Coach Clark: "It's about learning about yourself..."


Myra Junyk is a literacy advocate and author in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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