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The Final FourThe Final Four by Paul Volponi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love all of Paul Volponi's books and this is no exception! He gets the suspense and excitement just right in this book about basketball and 4 overtimes in a game that will totally drive you crazy with anticipation. Who will win this Final Four game between the Michigan State Spartans (Malcolm McBride and Michael Jordan) against the Troy University Trojans (Roko Bacic and Crispin Rice)is anyone's guess as we follow the story through the four main characters, (and there are so many more other memorable characters in this book!) newspaper stories, and news reporting by sportscasters. I so enjoyed Malcolm; he was easy to dislike with all his bravado, but he was a consummate player, who had a close-knit family, ethics that kept him away from the drug infested streets, parties and trouble. Volponi's trash-talking between the basketball players was cruel and amusing and created a dynamic that fueled the tension on the court. Roko's story was heartrending with his flight from Croatia and the loss of his uncle. But you knew he was going to do whatever it took to survive, be a leader, and be just like his uncle. I enjoyed the dynamics between Michael Jordan and Malcolm and loved his Reaction Paper: Basketball is Life! Crispin Rice's spur of the moment proposal teaches him (and his team) about living in the moment and the Troy of Hope good luck won't make them a winning team, but looking out for each other during the game is their winning strategy. I will be getting multiple copies of this book for our library and I know my reluctant readers, especially those that love basketball will be fighting for this book!

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