CM . . .
. Volume XVII Number 36. . . .May 20, 2011
Rebound. (Sports Stories).
Toronto, ON: James Lorimer, 2011.
100 pp., pbk., $9.95.
Grades 5-7 / Ages 10-12.
Review by Laura Dick.
I spent the day watching reality TV, listening to music, and trying to decide what to tell Coach Shields, my teachers, and my friends. I knew telling them what was going on would only make things harder for me on the basketball team. I decided to tell everyone I just had a bad strain. Once my medication kicked in, no one would know the difference.
I thought about my promise to my Mom, and felt guilty knowing I was about to break it. But I didn’t change my mind.
C.J., a grade 9 student living in Nakusp BC, has just been named captain of the junior basketball team and is desperate to make it onto the National Team. Basketball is C.J’s whole life until the morning she wakes up with excruciating pain in her ankles and legs. She can barely move, never mind play.
C.J. is very quickly diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and she is determined not to share her diagnosis with anyone – not her friends, not her coach, not her teammates and especially not Debi Simpson, a girl on her basketball team who seems determined to make life miserable for C.J.
This first novel by BC author Adrienne Mercer was originally published in 2002 and has been re-released by Lorimer with a new and appealing cover. Part of the Lorimer “Sports Stories” series line of fast-paced, quick reads, Rebound would be a good fit for a sports loving, struggling tween reader. Fairly well written, the book’s descriptions of the basketball games and practices are convincing and should appeal to sports fans. The unexpected discovery that C.J. is a girl may prove to be a bit of a surprise for readers who would have no clue of C.J’s gender from the cover or from the jacket blurb. Hopefully, it will be a good surprise.
While Rebound is recommend for its niche audience, it does have some flaws. C.J.’s inner turmoil about her serious diagnosis is glossed over and not explored in any depth. Her journey from the appearance of her first symptoms to diagnosis to treatment is extremely rapid and unrealistic. More importantly, there is no sense of what living with this juvenile arthritis might be like for a young person beyond broad descriptions of “the pain was so intense I couldn’t even stand the pressure of my own blankets” and “wincing at the pain in my ankle and knee.” C.J.’s most important concerns are not letting her teammates down and admitting her weakness to them. For C.J., it really is all about basketball and not allowing her condition to come between her and her goals. Mercer misses a valuable opportunity to deal with a teen coming to terms with a life changing situation. What is missing is C.J.’s emotional journey. Her basketball journey to the National Team just isn’t enough.
Laura Dick is trying to raise four teenagers while attempting to maintain her sanity. She escapes to work as a librarian at a large public library in Southwestern Ontario.
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