I am not a big fan of hockey, or most sports, so I don’t read many sports-related novels. But even though I tried to put this one down a few times, I ended up reading it straight through. This is one of the nominees for the 2016 Silver Birch Fiction Awards from the Ontario Library Association.
Description from Amazon.com:
When Rocket gets cut from his AAA bantam hockey team, he needs to re-evaluate his priorities. Bryan Rockwood (aka "Rocket") is faced with the unthinkable: being cut from the Huskies — the AAA hockey team he has played on for three years. With no other teams interested in him, Bryan reluctantly joins a AA team, the Blues, at his best friend Maddy's insistence.
Things only get worse when Rocket sees that the Blues don't take hockey seriously. Facing the Huskies in the round robin will give Rocket the chance to prove his skills, but in order to keep his hockey dreams (and his friends) Rocket will have to realize that while hockey is his passion, it is not his entire life.
Rocket Blues was written by David Skuy and published by Scholastic Canada Ltd. in 2014.
A great read for any kid who loves hockey! This book is full of exciting hockey moments with lots of details about the action in the game. I liked the main character, Rocket, and was rooting for him to get on a team and win some games. His optimism and kindness made him a likeable character. He sorted out his friendships with members of his old team in a believable way. Rocket’s friendship with Maddy made me think about different kinds of families and family relationships.
As a writer, I was impressed by the way the author wove in different subplots to make a compelling read, even for someone who doesn’t enjoy hockey.
“Rocket grabbed his hockey jacket and sticks and headed to the elevator.”
“After everything, all the practices, the working out, the championship, the trophies, it was all over—after one stupid tryout. Just like that.”
“Rocket took off like a racehorse bursting from the gate.”
“And maybe, for the first time in his life, he’d felt, at least a little, that there was more to his life than hockey.”
David Skuy has written several middle grade books about hockey and a series about soccer. His middle grade novel, Undergrounders, won the Silver Birch Award in 2012.
Here’s what he says on his website about why he writes contemporary fiction: “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.”