This book is a sequel to one called THE PERFECT SCORE, which I had not read. It does make reference to events in the earlier book, so read that one first if you want a fuller experience (though it is not essential to enjoying the sequel). The book is about a group of friends entering the seventh grade. They come from a variety of home situations and have differing talents and interests. The book might be of particular interest to young people interested in sports (football, gymnastics). Each chapter is told from a different person’s point of view. I find this rather annoying, but it’s a technique authors seem to like nowadays. Various problems arise which cover quite a large field: bullying, illegal immigrants, parents wanting to live through their children, identifying and developing one’s unique gifts and talents, setting goals and solving problems, juvenile delinquency, jumping to conclusions about people, failure to communicate, slow-healing brain injury, illiteracy, first romance, etc. You name it, it’s covered, in a serious though not heavy-handed manner. About the only thing that doesn’t rear its head is the issue of same-sex relationships. The only off-color language is butt-related, i.e. slap on the butt, knocked on the butt, butthead, etc. I imagine few people would find this offensive.
The book is easy to read. It has a reasonably complicated plot which moves along at suitable speed and which resolves itself neatly. It is probably best suited to middle-school readers because the kids are a little too gee-whiz and positive (and the outcomes all successful) to be credible with older readers.
The author has done a fine service in writing this book for young readers. He doesn’t sugarcoat issues they may confront, but he shows that with friends, planning, and hard work, many problems can be fixed. The book would be a great addition to any school library.