From 2015 WNBA MVP, 2016 Olympic gold medalist, and global ambassador to the Special Olympics Elena Delle Donne comes the first novel in a brand-new middle grade series with as much heart as there is game.
Elle Deluca is a seventh grader who is tall--not just sort of tall. She's six feet tall. And for a twelve-year-old girl, this means that her basketball team has high hopes for her changing positions and becoming their starting center. But a new position is not the only footwork she has to learn. Her class's dance unit in gym is coming up, and that means she has to learn ballroom dance steps with a boy much shorter than her--and perform publicly for a grade.
In the first book in WNBA MVP and Olympic gold medalist Elena Delle Donne's Hoops series, Elle must figure out a way to remain herself when others want her to be someone else.
Donne—a professional basketball player, youth coach, and author of the memoir My Shot (which publishes simultaneously)—taps into her knowledge of the game and her insight into aspiring players in this first book in the Hoops series. As basketball season opens, Elle Deluca has skyrocketed to a height of six feet and outgrown her clothes; she now towers over the seventh-grade boys, including her ballroom dancing partner for the upcoming cotillion. Rather than boosting her confidence as a basketball player, Elle's growth causes high anxiety: "I grew ten feet overnight and became a total klutz," she says, and she suspects that her coach has assigned her to the demanding position of starting center because of her stature, rather than her skill. While avoiding melodrama, Donne humorously portrays Elle's adjustment to her changing body and her increasing self-confidence and positivity. Play-by-play basketball action, friendship subplots, and the inspiration Elle draws from her older sister (who is deaf and blind and has autism and cerebral palsy) round out this engaging novel. Ages 8-12. Agent: Jennifer Keene and Erin Kane, Octagon. (Mar.)Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Gr 3-6—Elle has always been tall, but as she enters seventh grade she is already six feet. It is a good thing she loves playing basketball since that is all anyone ever asks her about when they meet her. With her new extra height, she is moving from a guard to center this year. Along with learning a new position, she is adjusting to her new height, making her feel like she will never be coordinated again. Elle is also dealing with her school's annual cotillion in which she will have to dance with a boy for the first time ever. As the tween protests being forced to wear a dress and dance for a grade, she learns that her friends and her family love her for who she is and that she is more capable than she believes. The author, a former WNBA MVP and Olympic gold medalist, keeps the basketball jargon in check and believable for this age group. Readers will be eager to see where the rest of the series takes Elle and her teammates. VERDICT The author's name may draw some recognition from big WNBA fans, but the diverse cast and timely subject matter for girls in middle grades are what will make this a strong choice for middle grades sports collections.—Carli Sauer, Carmel Middle School, INCopyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.