Basketball and bullying

Rocket Man
by Jan L. Coates
$12.95, paperback, 204 pp.
Red Deer Press, April 2014

Rocket ManThere are many times when Bob Prescott wishes that he could be Mr. Invisible. But not on the basketball court. This year he is determined to make the Division 1 team. Things seem to go well during tryouts, making it even more crushing when he doesn’t make the cut. But basketball isn’t the only thing on his mind, what with his dad’s recent brain cancer diagnosis. As Bob contends with the ever-changing issues at home and at school, he devises a way to make money for cancer research. With the help of family and friends he throws himself into preparations for a Hoop Heroes 4 Health Basketball game, and discovers a number of truly heroic qualities in himself in the process.

Jan Coates has created a believable character in Bob whose anxieties, hopes and fears are realistically portrayed.  Issues of bullying, dealing with a family illness and sibling relationships are touched upon, although not in great depth, and the eighth grade experience is adroitly captured (the school dance; awkward moments in the cafeteria; tentative boy-girl interactions).  While readers may have enjoyed a more in-depth exploration of these issues, they’ll identify with many of Bob’s feelings and be relieved at the emotionally-satisfying conclusion.

Rocket Man
by Jan L. Coates
$12.95, paperback, 204 pp.
Red Deer Press, April 2014

Written By

Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax. She shares her passion for children’s and young adult books as our young readers editor and book reviewer.

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