This is a great book for any kids who enjoy sports! It’s another one of the nominees for this year’s Silver Birch Award from the Ontario Library Association.
Thirteen-year-old Cody is aching to get back onto the pitch. Last year he had a tumor removed from his leg. Though it's a struggle, Cody tries out for the Lions and makes the team as a "super sub" -- one of eleven players who jokingly named themselves that because they're never allowed to play. Secretly Cody is relieved, since he hasn't told anyone on the team that he had cancer.
But then there's a shakeup in team management and suddenly Cody and the super subs are the only players left. Cody has no choice now but to play, even if his leg does begin to hurt. At an end-of-season tournament it becomes clear that he and another player, Paulo, are close to being the perfect scoring duo. Without being aware of it, Cody has been holding himself back, striking with his left leg instead of his right.
When he finally comes clean to his teammates about his disease and injury from the year before, they encourage him to trust his leg and his skill.
Striker by David Skuy, James Lorimer & Company, Toronto, 2013
I don’t know much about sports, so I learned a bit about soccer from reading this book. But I could relate to the emotions Cody felt in worrying about whether he was good enough and whether he’d fit in and could make friends with the other guys on his team. I thought the story was realistic and liked that Cody’s parents were involved in the story too.
As a writer, this is a good one to read to see how to include the parents in the story in a realistic way. I also thought it was great the way the author integrated Cody’s thoughts with the story action.
“Cody fought the urge to rub the back of his right leg.”
“I don’t need an ambulance because I bumped into someone. Rush me to the hospital the next time I stub my toe, why don’t you?”
“She began to bounce the ball with her right foot. Cody could barely watch, convinced she was going to embarrass him again.”
“You have to want to win more. A normal effort won’t cut it, an above-average effort won’t either; you need the effort of your lives.”
David Skuy writes fast-paced books about sports and issues in the world around us.
One of his previous books, Undergrounders, won a Silver Birch Award.
This is what David Skuy says about his books: “I write for kids who want to relate to something in their own lives, who want to lose themselves in the drama; and while my books have a general sports theme, I really write for all kids, boys and girls alike, who love to read about the world they live in.”
Writers will be interested to know that the published version of Striker came from an old manuscript that David Skuy went back to, with a new main character. Check out: Inspiration… or Perspiration – Books Hiding in Those Old Manuscripts
For more about David Skuy, visit his website.
Looking for more Marvelous Middle Grade Monday books? Visit Shannon Messenger’s blog for a list of bloggers reviewing great books today! Shannon is the founder of Marvelous Middle Grade Monday and the author of the middle grade series, Keeper of the Lost Cities.