BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Hooper by Geoff Herbach
by Geoff Herbach
From Geoff Herbach, the critically acclaimed author of the Stupid Fast series, comes a compelling new YA novel about basketball, prejudice, privilege, and family, perfect for fans of Jordan Sonnenblick, Andrew Smith, and Matt de la Peña.
For Adam Reed, basketball is a passport. Adam’s basketball skills have taken him from an orphanage in Poland to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota. When he’s tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, it just confirms that basketball is his ticket to the good life: to new friendships, to the girl of his dreams, to a better future.
But life is more complicated off the court. When an incident with the police threatens to break apart the bonds Adam’s finally formed after a lifetime of struggle, he must make an impossible choice between his new family and the sport that’s given him everything.
3.5 out of 5 FLEURS DE LIS
From the moment I started this book, I knew that I was going to like the main character. Adam Reed (aka Sobieski) is a sophomore in high school and is a basketball phenom. His height may have been God given, but for every other part of the game, he has worked relentlessly to better himself. Adam has a passion for the sport that you can really feel coming off the pages of this novel.
Adam might be great at basketball, but the other parts of his life, he’s more uncertain about. He only has one friend, he is adopted and has only been living in the US after coming from Poland a few years ago. He also struggles with anger problems and the fact that no one at school seems to care about him except when he’s scoring on the court.
Being a high schooler is tough enough, but when you add these problems on, you can see why Adam often feels so overwhelmed and complicated.
This was a very fast read for me. I can tell that not only does the main character love basketball, but so does the author; I had to skim my eyes over passages detailing plays and such, because I simply don’t know that much about the game. Those in love with the sport will appreciate the attention to these details, though.
You really can’t help but feel for Adam. Born in Poland, he ended up in an orphanage after the death of his mother and being abandoned by his father. Even though this sad part of his life has been over for years and he is now being lovingly cared for by the woman who adopted him, Adam still has violent, irrational dreams and flashbacks, and they lead to him cutting himself off from people.
I wish the book would have explored a bit more into getting Adam some help for the issues he’s still wrestling with from his childhood. When he finally does open up to someone, he feels simultaneously worse and better. He’s clearly dealing with emotional issues and anxiety, and I think young readers will recognize these signs in themselves; that’s why I wish it would have been addressed more.
The romantic angle was kind of flighty to me, but maybe I don’t know much about teenage love anymore since I am now in my 30’s. The girl seemed to run hot and cold, and in my opinion Adam goes too easy on her, but OK. Like I said, maybe I just don’t know how relationships between teens are these days.
I think many teens will relate to this book because it deals with problems like having to choose between two vastly different friend groups, how much time you should devote to the things you love, and keeping your priorities straight when you have a lot on your plate. Young basketball fans will devour this book for the game passages, and others still will like the humor. Hooper has a lot of sides to offer.
About the Author
Geoff Herbach is the author of the award winning Stupid Fast YA series as well as Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders. His books have been given the 2011 Cybils Award for best YA novel, the Minnesota Book Award, selected for the Junior Library Guild, listed among the year’s best by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association and many state library associations. In the past, he wrote the literary novel, The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, produced radio comedy shows and toured rock clubs telling weird stories. Geoff teaches creative writing at Minnesota State, Mankato. He lives in a log cabin with a tall wife.
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ONE lucky winner will receive a signed copy of Hooper by Geoff Herbach.
INTL, 13+, ends May 14th, 2018.