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"Children will delight in this book." -Washoe County School District, Spring 1999

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Players
Written by Joyce Sweeney


The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, 1/1/2001
St. Philip's varsity basketball team should be unstoppable—it's got individual talent, an effective captain in senior Corey, and that near-mystical team cohesion that augurs a winning edge. All that's needed is some insurance with a strong player for the single opening on second string, and, despite his teammates' vague and unsubstantiated misgivings, Corey is certain that eager transfer student Noah is their man. The season is barely underway when things begin to happen: an injury during practice, a player who collapses during pregame intros, another who quits without offering a reason, girlfriends' betrayals, crumbling friendships, and a handgun planted in a locker. . . . Perennial nice guy Corey finally realizes the simple truth his teammates have suspected all along: Noah is evil. Applying the defensive strategy that has served him well on court, Corey methodically exposes Noah's machinations and crimes and leads his team to the city championship. Sweeney's device of tucking Noah coyly into the background while disclosing the results of his actions is effective and chilling, and although some murmurs are made concerning Noah's rotten home life, he is allowed to shine here as unapologetically, gratifyingly bad. Part sports story, part thriller—this one's a winner.


School Library Journal, 9/1/2000
“Transfer student Noah Travers will stop at nothing to make the starting squad. His unbridled ambition leads him to blackmail, tampering with a player's medications, and planting a gun in a teammate's locker. Eventually, Corey tricks him into admitting his crimes. . . . Noah is a deliciously nasty villain. . . . On the other hand, the portrait of Corey is more complex and subtle. He's a good but hardly perfect kid, trying to do his best as he confronts genuine evil for the first time in his life. . . . The book scores as a fast-paced story of the unmasking of a sociopath.”


Voice of Youth Advocates, 12/1/2000
“Sweeney has created an intriguing mix of basketball and suspense. The basketball scenes are well written and flow with the excitement of the game. The development of Noah's wickedness and Corey's gradual realization of just how far Noah is willing to go to get what he wants are very believable and add to the suspense. Readers who enjoy sports novels will find the plot twists an exciting change, and suspense readers will get a lot at some fast-paced sports scenes.”



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