The Half-Court Hero (The Zach & Zoe Mysteries #2)

by Mike Lupica (Author)

The Half-Court Hero (The Zach & Zoe Mysteries #2)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
#1 New York Times bestseller Mike Lupica begins an exciting new chapter book series, perfect for fans of Cam Jansen, featuring his trademark sports action and heart, and a lovable twin brother-sister duo who solve sports-related mysteries.

There's nothing eight-year-old twins Zach and Zoe Walker love more than playing sports and solving mysteries. And when those two worlds collide . . . well it doesn't get any better than that. When the twins start a summer basketball league at their local park, they notice the once rundown court is getting freshened up with each passing day. First new nets, then the benches have been completely restored. But who's behind it? Zach and Zoe are on the case!

In the opening installments of the Zach and Zoe Mysteries, bestselling author Mike Lupica begins a series for a new and younger audience, introducing readers to a sports-loving detective duo who can swing for the fences and catch the culprit in one fell swoop. With a recipe equal parts sports and mystery, the Zach and Zoe Mysteries break fresh ground for an author who has been called the greatest sportswriter for kids.

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School Library Journal

Gr 1-4--Zach and Zoe are twins with a passion for sports of all kinds. In the first entry of this new series, The Missing Baseball, Zach brings his most special autographed baseball to school for sharing with his classmates. It goes missing, and Zoe is on the case. In between gathering clues, the twins play soccer, basketball, and baseball. The mystery comes to a gentle ending and a climatic baseball game is won by Zoe with good sportsmanship shown by her loyal brother. In the second title, The Half-Court Hero, the twins are in a weekend basketball tournament. The court where they are to play is in pretty rough shape: broken benches, no nets, and it's in need of repainting. A mysterious benefactor begins nightly repairs on the court, and Zoe and Zach gather clues to solve the mystery of the do-gooder. All is neatly wrapped up at the end of this short chapter book. Zach and Zoe are likable and kind to each other, and their parents are supportive. Lupica knows how to write sports action with a heart, but his skill as a mystery writer for the chapter book crowd is not as refined. The clues are a bit too obvious and the resolution to the puzzles is not terribly engaging. Kids will appreciate that the sports action doesn't focus on just one sport per title, but the mystery elements won't keep many readers puzzling--they will have figured it out long before the twins do. VERDICT Give these to young readers who are looking for easy sports fiction or who are new to the mystery genre. An additional selection.--John Scott, Friends School of Baltimore

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.


Lupica kicks off a new series starring a pair of 8-year-old twins who solve sports-themed mysteries . . . Along with plenty of suspenseful sports action, the author highlights in both tales the values of fair play, teamwork, and doing the "right thing." . . . the supporting cast shows some racial and ethnic diversity. Wholesome, uncomplicated fare for the younger Matt Christopher crowd.

Review quotes

 "Mike Lupica is bringing his sports knowledge and excellent writing ability to the chapter book world...[Zach and Zoe] have exciting playoff games, supportive parents, and act true to their ages . . . there is no evil involved in the mysteries, and the community is supportive. It is evident early on who or what is behind the mysteries, but this should be a positive for youngsters who are just getting started with guessing the outcomes of chapter books."—School Library Connection
Mike Lupica

Mike Lupica ( is the #1 bestselling author of many popular books for young readers, including Fantasy League, Travel Team, Heat, and Million-Dollar Throw. He has carved out a niche as the sporting world's finest storyteller. Mike lives in Connecticut with his wife and their four children. When not writing novels, Mike Lupica writes for New York's Daily News and appears weekly on ESPN's The Sports Reporters.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date
May 20, 2018
The Zach & Zoe Mysteries
BISAC categories
JUV028000 - Juvenile Fiction | Mysteries, Espionage, & Detective Stories
JUV013070 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Siblings
JUV032020 - Juvenile Fiction | Sports & Recreation | Basketball
Library of Congress categories
Brothers and sisters
Mystery and detective stories
Detective and mystery fiction
JUVENILE FICTION / Mysteries & Detective Stor
JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Siblings
JUVENILE FICTION / Sports & Recreation / Bask
Basketball courts

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