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Annotation: A promising young Wimbledon hopeful navigates his relationship with a mysterious imaginary friend, whose inconvenient presence forces the young athlete to confront his greatest fears and desires.
Genre: [Sports fiction]
Catalog Number: #182855
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 229 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-338-28536-X
ISBN 13: 978-1-338-28536-9
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
Tennis-whiz Floyd knows exactly what he'll be when he grows up; Mike, a new, mysterious acquaintance, has other ideas.Floyd's white, affluent parents are passionate about tennis; the family business is building tennis courts in Sheffield, England. Unlike Floyd, his dad started late on the path to becoming a tennis pro only to have an injury permanently end his career. After spotting Floyd's coach about to hit another child in training, his dad took over coaching Floyd himself. He's a good coach and loving father, and Floyd is acutely sensitive to how invested both parents are in his career. When Floyd, age 5, won his first tournament, his parents rewarded him with a tropical fish. A decade of wins later, his collection takes up five tanks. Floyd's puzzled by Mike, a strange boy who shows up occasionally. Only when Mike distracts him during a match does Floyd discover that only he can see Mike. Soon, with psychologist Dr. Pinner as guide, Floyd embarks on an urgent journey: to learn who Mike is, figure out what he wants, and realize that, when choosing our path through life, who we listen to matters. If the omniscient narrative voice, psychic distance, and a plot spanning years defy YA norms, what results has the enigmatic resonance of parable.Covering considerable ground—literally and figuratively—this short, lucid novel leaves readers plenty to ponder, including its intriguing cover. (Fiction. 12-14)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Floyd, 15, has trained from age 5 to become the youngest UK Under-18s National Tennis Champion. His dream is to win Wimbledon, and his dad, a former ranked player himself, believes Floyd can do it. Every time Floyd wins, he is given a fish as a reward, and now he has five full fish tanks. It seems as though Floyd's only rival for the title is girl-magnet Barrington Gates, and he is well on his way to accomplishing his dream til Mike, a mysterious teenager no one else can see, begins appearing to him. Mike rarely speaks, but his unexpected appearances on the court while Floyd plays are seriously throwing off Floyd's game. Floyd's understanding psychologist helps Floyd realize who Mike truly is and what he wants. Teens with parents who have high expectations for them will relate to Floyd's situation. This contemporary coming-of-age tale portrays mental health issues without stigmatizing them and has a timeless feel. The many coincidences can feel over the top, but the lightly magical component, complete with a sweet romance, makes it truly satisfying. The story spans more years than is typical for a YA book, but discerning readers will be too caught up in Floyd's story to mind.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (3/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Word Count: 41,267
Reading Level: 6.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.0 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 503039 / grade: Middle Grades+
Reading Counts!: reading level:8.4 / points:11.0 / quiz:Q75872
Lexile: 990L
Guided Reading Level: Q
Fountas & Pinnell: Q

Mike is the imaginary friend and projection of a repressed wish that won't go away until Floyd confronts both his greatest fear and greatest desire: to succeed.

An "Enchanting coming-of-age tale, with a young man struggling to come to terms with his future and what he really wants out of life. Anyone who has tried to live up to their parents' desires and expectations will be able to connect with Floyd as he begins his journey of self-discovery." -- School Library Journal (starred review)MEET FLOYD. He's a tennis star. Possibly good enough to win Wimbledon one day. MEET MIKE. He's... different. Apart from anything else, Floyd seems to be the only one who can see him. But Mike must have appeared for a reason. And finding out why is perhaps the most important thing Floyd will ever do...

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