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The Final Four
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The Final Four
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"Volponi, a multiple award-winning author, keeps the tension high from the first to last page ...The Final Four is definitely a winner." —VOYA, starred reviewMarch Madness is in full swing, and...
"Volponi, a multiple award-winning author, keeps the tension high from the first to last page ...The Final Four is definitely a winner." —VOYA, starred reviewMarch Madness is in full swing, and...
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  • "Volponi, a multiple award-winning author, keeps the tension high from the first to last page ...The Final Four is definitely a winner." —VOYA, starred review
    March Madness is in full swing, and there are only four teams let in the NCAA basketball championship. The heavily favored Michigan Spartans and the underdog Troy Trojans meet in the first game in the seminfinals, and it's there that the fates of Malcolm, Roko, Crispin, and M.J. intertwine. As the last moments tick down on the game clock, you'll learn how each player went from being a kid who loves to shoot hoops to a powerful force in one of the most important games of the year. Which team will leave the Superdome victorious? In the end it will come down to who has the most skill, the most drive, and the most heart.
    "Volponi nails it when it counts in this dynamic story." —Booklist, starred review

    "Volponi adroitly renders authentic and inspired basketball action." —The New York Times Book Review

    From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

Awards-

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    February 15, 2012
    Volponi's latest combines in-the-moment action, basketball history and the points of view of four college ballplayers with very different lives. The frame story here is a white-knuckle NCAA championship game between Michigan State's Spartans and the underdog Trojans from Troy University. Television interviews, news articles, radio transcripts and segments narrated from individual players' perspectives lay out the minute-by-minute action of the game and the context and personal histories surrounding it. Readers meet talented but arrogant Malcolm McBride, who plans to leave Michigan State for the NBA immediately after his freshman year, second-tier player Michael Jordan (MJ), whom Malcolm berates for not living up to his namesake's prowess, Crispin Rice, who became a viral video sensation when he proposed impulsively to his cheerleader girlfriend after a dramatic play on the court, and Roko Bacic, who lost a journalist uncle to an attack by Zagreb mobsters. No story or character is simple: Malcolm, for instance, is both sympathetic and perilously self-centered, and his argument that the NCAA profits unfairly from student athletics will provoke debate among readers. The pace of the game lulls a bit in the middle but picks up again in the tense and unpredictable finale. Compelling characters and solid sports action. (Fiction. 12 & up)

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2012

    Gr 8 Up-The fates of four college basketball players come together as their teams meet in a semifinal game of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Malcolm McBride and Michael Jordan (who bears the burden of being named after the game's greatest player) are members of the vaunted Michigan State Spartans while Roko Bacic and Crispin Rice play for the underdog Troy University Trojans. Their stories are told by means of flashbacks, journal entries, newspaper accounts, and TV interviews weaving in and out of the play-by-play. Brash, outspoken Malcolm, who grew up in a crime-ridden Detroit housing project and whose sister was killed in a drive-by shooting, makes no secret of his desire to secure a lucrative pro contract after one year of college basketball. For Roko, basketball is his ticket to a better life after his escape from war-torn Croatia. Michael's self-confidence has suffered from his inability to live up to his famous name, and Crispin is having second thoughts about a hasty (and public) proposal to a possibly faithless girlfriend. Malcolm, Michael, and Roko come across as being especially complex, multifaceted, driven individuals. Malcolm is in many ways the least likable but most compelling of the protagonists. He boldly speaks truth to power in challenging a college athletic system that routinely exploits student athletes while raking in hundreds of millions of dollars from their unpaid labors. With exciting game action and a candid exploration of the hypocrisy inherent so-called amateur sports, this gritty, realistic, and riveting novel deserves the wide audience it will no doubt attract.-Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT

    Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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