Hello everyone, today is my stop on the blog tour for Hooper by Geoff Herbach! Stay tuned for an amazing guest post from him and a review from me! And of course, don't forget to enter the giveaway!
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.
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY
Praise for HOOPER
“Lessons on small-town politics and what it means to be a good friend abound in this well-plotted work.” ―Booklist
“Herbach’s ability to expand the narrative from solid game play to confronting racial injustice is remarkable. No one here is perfect, and their failures make readers cringe yet root for success. Hoops and so much more.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“There’s much to love in this sports tale. Fast-paced play-by-plays vividly depict the speed and beauty of the game. Adam’s backstory is heartrending and with immigrant mistrust and nonviolent protests in the national spotlight, this is a timely and realistic teen drama and swish—nothin’ but net.” ―School Library Journal
“This sports/school/domestic drama checks all the boxes. What could be another boilerplate basketball novel benefits from a tight cast of well developed secondary characters who surpass their expected stereotypes.” ―Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Fresh, funny, thoughtful, subversive, and totally absorbing. Book of the year!” ―Robert Lipsyte, Margaret A. Edwards award-winning author of The Contender
“Funny, gut-wrenching, and spilling over with heart, Hooper is an uplifting breath of joy, and gives us all cause to be hopeful. I loved it!” ―Andrew Smith, Michael L. Printz Honor and New York Times Bestselling author of Winger and Grasshopper Jungle
“Hooper is a slam dunk! A sports novel with incredible action and tons of heart. I challenge you not to fall in love with these terrific, flawed characters, and just try to put this one down once you start. Impossible.” ―Bill Konigsberg, Award-Winning Author of Honestly Ben
“Raw, funny, and deeply honest, Geoff Herbach gifts us a story about the messiness of life and the importance of talking about it—ultimately showing us how to not only trudge through it, but to soar.” ―Gae Polisner, author of In Sight of Stars and The Memory of Things
“Author Geoff Herbach has a remarkable ability to create characters who make us laugh and think, sometimes within the same sentence. Read Hooper and let your self be changed.” ―John Coy, author of Gap Life
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.
PHOTO CREDIT: KATHERINE WARDE
Geoff Herbach's Guest Post:
Topic: Sports and Literature: How Mr. Herbach Connected the Two Opposite Seeming Topics
The way I started writing YA is really wrapped up in this topic. My son was a huge fantasy reader when he was little. About the same time he was hit by the puberty train (like, grew all this hair and his voice dropped and suddenly all his pants were way too short), he just stopped reading. He actually said, “Books don’t apply to me.”
Uh, what? Books are about everything!
I told him this, but he wouldn’t believe me. I bought him books and he wouldn’t even look at them. Then, one day he woke up late in the morning. He came downstairs with a confused look on his face. Something smelled bad. Turns out, it was his left armpit (how he didn’t know it was his own armpit, I don’t know). That cracked me up. I took him to Target to get deodorant. There, I told a worker we were looking for deodorant, because my son’s left armpit had gone through puberty. It cracked me up (my son was not amused). On the way home, I decided I was going to write a book that was filled with my sons concerns (body, romance, sports, music).
Because sports were such a big deal to me when I was a kid, I ended up focusing a lot on sports in that book (Stupid Fast). My mission was really to get my son to read. When he did read it (read the thing on his iPod, which I thought was weird) and he said he liked it, I wondered if I could get other kids who weren’t interested in reading to read?
Sports and jokes have really been at the center of my work. I really do write books I hope that kids who don’t like to read will read. That’s really why I wanted to write about basketball in the beginning. I only fell in love with the specific story later.
When Adam’s basketball skills take him from a Polish orphanage to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota, he believes basketball is his ticket to greatness. Being recruited to play on a select AAU team with some of the best players in the state, only confirms it. But when an incident with the police threatens to break apart the relationships Adam’s finally formed, he must choose between his new family and the sport that’s given him everything.
There were so many aspects of this book that were really amazing, the first of which being the plot. When I first started reading this book, I thought that it would be pretty straight forward and simple, but boy was I wrong. Throughout the book, the author continued to bring up themes of family and racial injustice in ways that typical sports books aren’t always able to do. I thought this was very interesting that the author brought up these important issues without making it seem forced. An example of this is how Adam’s friend in getting in trouble for doing something that wasn’t his fault and how his other teammate is getting in trouble because of racism from others. Through plot points like this, the author was able to seamlessly weave in bits of important topics into his story.
Another part of this book that I really enjoyed were the characters. Adam, for example, was amazingly written. For one, he had such a unique voice that is rare in YA. After all, it isn’t everyday that you read about a teenage Polish basketball star. Along with that, I loved how we were able to watch his growth throughout the book. He started out with a very clear goal and idea and his head, and he also was very new to America and the English language in general. I enjoyed how throughout this book, we were able to see him grow his relationships with his new family and with the people in his school. I also enjoyed seeing him speak better English. I actually have Chinese exchange students in my school, my friend being one of them, and I feel so proud of her whenever she starts to speak better and better English and integrate more with English-speaking students. I felt this way throughout this book too as Adam grew. I also enjoyed how the author did not leave out any side characters. He continue to integrate them into the plot and build their characters which each chapter, something which many authors forget to do.
Finally, I really enjoyed the writing style in this book. The author wrote in the perfect way for themes in this book, perfectly combining sports and YA contemporary themes. I for one am not a fan of sports yet I found myself interested in every word written. I also really enjoyed how the author wrote in short chapters because it kept on making me want to read just one more chapter.
I would recommend this book for fans of sports who might not be a frequent reader because of it’s fast-paced story line. Fans of regular contemporary books will also enjoy this book as well because it is far from your typical sports book.
Enter the Giveaway for a Signed Copy of Hooper!
Welcome to the Book Enigma! I review different genres of books from young adult fiction to sci-fi. Enjoy!
Aspiring author who, along with reading YA and with other genres, also fosters kittens, and play the piano and cello!
“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”