I haven't read these myself yet, but I like books that have a series. If kids engage in one, then there's some runway for the to go deeper. Unfortunately, there are only two books in the series at the moment and with Kobe Bryant's death, I'm not sure what that means to the future of the series.
The books are about a young basketball team (12 year olds) and are co-authored by Kobe Bryant so the sports culture is authentic. Of course, I didn't play basketball, so what do I know but it rings true to me and the dialog between the kids is well done. The dialog does seem a little above the age of the kids but maybe not for the kids in their situation. There appears to be some kind of mystical or magical element going on in the story as well.
The sample I've read is well written and engaging. I'm looking forward to reading more. The page count is over 500 pages so it's substantial reading but the second book is only 165. The reading level seems targeted at middle school and higher but I'd have to read more to really get a feeling for that.
Here's the description from the publisher:
Magic doesn’t seem possible for the West Bottom Badgers. They’re the lowest-ranked basketball team in their league, and they live in the poorest neighborhood in Dren. Nobody expects them to succeed at anything. Plus, every kid on the team has secret struggles of his own. When a new coach named Professor Wizenard arrives on the first day of training camp, the Badgers can’t explain the magical-seeming things they see and hear. Every player experiences unique and strange visions—visions that challenge everything they thought they knew about basketball, and about their lives and their secrets off the court. To survive the increasingly intense ordeals of training, the Badgers will need to take unimaginable risks, learn to trust their teammates, and confront the darkness within themselves.
It's also available on Audible as well as an e-book through Rakuten Kobo.
Targeted toward the younger to mid teen. A kind of bizarre book that superimposes a seemingly normal group of kids on top of an alternate reality that seems to coexist.
It's the usual boy/girl, boy/boy, romance narrative. Coming of age. Kids are finishing their senior year and getting ready to go away to college.
It was a fun read. The kids are nice and not generally drinking or doing drugs and they take their academics seriously so they're decent role models without being too boring.
There were a couple of moments that would make it a bit uncomfortable for reading together as parent/child. Examples include a guy talking about his erection when he's kissing the girl of his dreams and he gushes enthusiastically about what sex with his girl-friend was like but it's not explicit. Otherwise I would say the book is pretty PG.
There's a fair bit of swearing in it which makes it inappropriate for younger readers. It's probably consistent with the vocabularly of typical teenagers.
It's a story of social misfits and to some degree. It's an exploration of what's right and wrong.
No real sexual content but it's alluded to occasionally.
We listened to this with my teenage daughter and we all enjoyed the story and didn't feel uncomfortable listening to it together.
Technogeeks will love it. It gets a little deep into the weeds of tech sometimes but even non techies should like the story.
Great introduction to understanding the bill of rights in the US and how fear facilitates the erosion of freedom.
A little bit of teenage physical intimacy which probably eliminates this from being used in schools. There is sexual intercourse although it's not described in detail.
There are descriptions of torture and psychological abuse but nothing worse than what they've read in the news or heard on the radio or seen in movies. It's an unfortunate reflection of the real world.
Older high school kids will like this book and the writing is appropriate for them if you don't have any hang-ups about kids reading about sex.
This YA novel was a fun read/listen. I chose the audio book and the reader did a good job of capturing the voice of the protagonist who is a teenage boy.
The publisher's synopsis of the story is: "Put an atheist in a strict Catholic school? Expect comedy, chaos, and an Inquisition. The Breakfast Club meets Saved! in debut author Katie Henry’s hilarious novel about a band of misfits who set out to challenge their school, one nun at a time."
If you're Roman Catholic, you might be offended by some of the message but if you consider questioning your faith an imporant part of faith, you'll likely be ok with it. There are good people who have strong faiths and there are not so good people who also have strong faiths so you get all sides.
The book is really an enjoyable read and even as an adult, I got a laugh out of a lot of the situations.