- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 6, 2007

By Brendan Wong, age 11

Tilden Middle School, Rockville

“Hot Hand,” part of Mike Lupica’s “Comeback Kids” series, is about Billy Raynor, his love for basketball and his family, which seems to be going in all kinds of directions.

His father, Joey Raynor, is Billy’s basketball coach. Billy’s father is very hard on him and criticizes him all the time in front of his teammates during practices and games. Billy and his father have a really complicated relationship, especially because Billy’s parents recently separated and his father has moved out of their home.

It seems Billy has a lot of emotions. He is angry, confused and hurt because of his parents’ situation and the way his father treats him.

His outlet is basketball. All Billy wants to do is play basketball, but his father is there all the time, telling him how to play and how the way he plays is incorrect.

Billy’s mom is a lawyer and is constantly busy. She spends a lot of time working and traveling. So it seems Billy is really close to neither his mom nor his dad, and he feels very alone.

Billy’s only brother is Ben, who is younger and a passionate piano player. Ben is the type who keeps to himself and is very into the piano, so Billy and he are not closely connected either. However, in “Hot Hand,” Billy helps Ben when he finds out that a bully is picking on Ben.

The family’s issues grow when Billy’s big basketball game and Ben’s piano recital are scheduled to happen at the same time. Billy’s mom is called to work out of town, so she is unable to make it to either event. Billy’s dad refuses to leave a game for a recital. You should definitely read “Hot Hand” to see what happens to Billy, Ben and their family.

I have to say I found “Hot Hand” a good read because I love basketball myself, and I thought the book was realistic with the family problems and all. I could relate to Billy because I have a brother as well, but we seem to have more similar interests than Billy and Ben.

Read “Hot Hand” if you’re a fan of Mike Lupica, sports stories and fiction. The book “Hot Hand” teaches great lessons about life struggles and family.

*** 1/2

BOOK: “Hot Hand: Mike Lupica’s Comeback Kids”

AUTHOR: Mike Lupica

PUBLISHER: Philomel (September 2007), hardcover, 176 pages

READING LEVEL: Ages 8 to 12

PRICE: $9.99

INFORMATION: us.penguingroup.com

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