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Annotation: If Harlem high school senior Drew Lawson is going to realize his dream of playing college, then professional, basketball, he will have to improve at being coached and being a team player, especially after a new--white--student threatens to take the scouts' attention away from him.
Catalog Number: #23914
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition Date: 2009
Pages: 218 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-058296-0 Perma-Bound: 0-605-17672-8
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-058296-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-17672-0
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2007018370
Dimensions: 19 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Harlem teen Drew Lawson thinks that he has "the big-money skills" for the NBA. Now a senior, he plans to play his best game, attract scouts, and earn a scholarship that will, he hopes, lead to the pros. Then his coach begins to favor a new, white player, and Drew struggles to overcome his anger and to maintain his drive. Basketball fans will love the long passages of detailed court action, and Myers extends the sports metaphors into Drew's own questions about the future possibilities for himself and his peers, particularly the struggling young men in his neighborhood, whom he sees as "a bunch of guys in a game. They were falling behind every minute that passed, but they had lost interest in the score." Myers explores his themes with a veteran writer's skill. Passages that could have read as heavy-handed messages come across, instead, as the authentic thoughts of a strong, likable, African American teen whose anxieties, sharp insights, and belief in his own abilities will captivate readers of all backgrounds.
Horn Book
Drew is the star of his Harlem high school basketball team, and he's counting on that to carry him to college. When the coach starts favoring other players, including a new student from Prague, Drew must reevaluate his attitude and become a team player. The wealth of game details will appeal to basketball fans, and the Harlem setting is vividly described.
Kirkus Reviews
Drew Lawson is a basketball player in Harlem with "big-money dreams." He's not about gangs or running the streets, just ball, and he hopes he has more to him than those lost to the streets, enough to carry him to a Division I university and on to the NBA. He just has to live up to his ability. But always, just below the surface, is Drew's awareness of the stoops and street corners where people fall behind on their games and lose interest in the score. Drew has a strong family, including a smart, pretty, sassy sister to keep him focused. Drew knows who he is, and he's intent on not blowing his chances. The author's knowledge of basketball shows in the expertly realized game sequences. There's plenty of basketball here, but, as in any good sports novel, more is going on than the sport; life is the game, and this is a sensitive portrait of a likable young man, his family, city and dreams. A good match with Myers's Monster (1999) and Slam (1996). (Fiction. 11+)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up&12; The Hat-Dog killer is on the loose in New York City, and Detective Hughes convinces 17-year-old Jazz Dent to fly in from Lobo's Nod and help solve the case. In I Hunt Killers (Little, Brown, 2012), Jazz helped police capture the Impressionist, a copy-cat killer mimicking the infamous sociopath, Billy Dent-Jazz's own father. In this episode, a series of murders in peaceful Brooklyn neighborhoods is occurring with gruesome similarities, including disemboweled victims who are also cut with images of either a dog or a hat. To compound the suspense, Billy has broken out of prison and may or may not be at the heart of this new reign of terror, testing his son's ability to piece together a new "game." Chilling random chapters from the killer's point of view allow readers to know things that Jazz has yet to figure out. The teen's internal dialogue often questions whether he really has "good guy" genes or has inherited his father's dark side, just waiting to present itself. His nerdy best friend, Howie, and girlfriend, Connie, keep him grounded in the real world that includes caring for an unpredictable grandmother with Alzheimer's disease. While Jazz is a well-developed, endearing character with a conscience, this dark psychological thriller will appeal to fans of television's Dexter Morgan, but with its focus on killing, sociopathic behavior, and sexual violence, it's best for mature high school readers.&12; Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
Voice of Youth Advocates
High school senior Drew Lawson loves the game of basketball. He realizes that basketball is his ticket to college and possibly a future in the NBA. The game also shields Drew from the negative and sometimes dangerous influences that he sees all around him on the streets of Harlem. Drew must keep his cool during his senior year, however, when Coach Hauser begins to favor Tomas, a white player from Prague. Drew and Tomas develop an interesting dynamic of friendship and rivalry as the team progresses toward the state regional championship. In the end, Drew is able to showcase his skills and fulfill his dream of earning a scholarship to an excellent basketball school. This novel does not cover any new territory, and Drew is an unexciting protagonist. The threats to Drew's future never fully materialize, and Coach Hauser's motives for favoring Tomas are never made clear. The stories of secondary characters, such as Tomas and Drew's sister, Jocelyn, seem worth telling. There is little tension as the novel limps toward its predictable conclusion. On the positive side, it is a quick read, and reluctant readers might be willing to pick it up. Myers is definitely adept at writing about the game action, and sports fans will appreciate this aspect of the book. Purchase where the author's better efforts have been popular and where sports fiction that is heavy on game action is in demand.-David Goodale.
Word Count: 42,246
Reading Level: 4.9
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.9 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 119931 / grade: Middle Grades+
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.3 / points:12.0 / quiz:Q42886
Lexile: 930L

Chapter One

"Yo, Drew, here's the story!" Jocelyn called me from the living room.

She and Mom were already sitting on the couch across from the television. Pops came out of the bathroom in his undershirt and started to say something, but Mom held her hand up.

"Wait a minute, honey," she said. "They're talking about that stickup on 126th Street."

Pops looked at me. There was a commercial on the television.

"It's coming up next," Jocelyn said.

A moment later a woman's face filled the screen.

What's happening with the youth of America? Well, if you're talking about the young people in our inner cities, the picture is far from pretty. Today two high school boys were involved in a vicious robbery and shoot-out in New York's Harlem community.

The image on the screen switched to a picture of the police stretching yellow tape across the sidewalk in front of a discount store.

At one thirty this afternoon, two boys, boys who should have been in school, attempted to hold up this store on 126th Street and Lenox Avenue. As they made their way from the store and down the busy street, they encountered an off-duty policeman, who immediately sensed what was going on. The two youths shot at the policeman, who returned fire. The result: a badly frightened and wounded clerk in the store, a sixteen-year-old in police custody, and a seventeen-year-old fatally wounded.

The country's educational mantra these days is "No Child Left Behind."

Tragically, this is yet another example of the growing number of children left behind on the cold streets of New York.

In Lebanon, negotiators have reached a tentative agreement . . .

Jocelyn switched channels.

"They didn't even give their names," Mom said.

"That's because they weren't eighteen yet," Pops said. "You can read about it in the papers tomorrow."

"It just tears me up to see young people wasting their lives like that," Mom said. "Every time you pick up the newspaper, every time you switch on the television, it's more of our young men either killed or going to jail. Lord have mercy! There just doesn't seem to be an end to it. Now there's a young man with all his life in front of him, and I know his parents wanted the best for him. Lying out on the sidewalk. It just . . . oh, Lord have mercy!"

Mom's voice was cracking, and I wondered why Jocelyn even had the story on. She knew how it upset Mom. She had always worried about me and Jocelyn, but then when my man Ruffy's brother was arrested right after Christmas, she got really messed around.

"I still think you children should finish school down south." Mom was on her feet. She had the towel in her hand she had been using to dry the dishes. "It's just safer down there."

Pops started in about how it wasn't any safer in Savannah, which is where my grandmother lived, than it was in Harlem. I went back to my room, and Jocelyn followed me in and plunked herself down on the end of my bed.

"Why don't you go to your own room, girl?"

"Why don't you let me borrow your cell until I get mine fixed?"


"Drew, you ain't got nobody to call. Let me use your phone."

"Those guys must have been on crack or something," I said. "Pulling a stickup in the middle of the day."

"So when do you pull your stickups?"

"Jocelyn, shut up and get off my bed."

"How long you think Mom is going to be upset?" she asked, not budging from the bed.

I took my sneakers off and threw them near her. "Yo, even when Mom's not acting worried, she's upset," I said. "I only got the rest of the year to go at Baldwin. You're the one she's going to send down south."

"I was thinking that maybe I should just go to Hollywood and start my career," Jocelyn said.

"I thought you were going to go to Harvard first."

"I could commute back and forth."

"And you could get off my bed so I can get some rest."

Jocelyn got up, picked up one of my sneakers, sniffed it, and then staggered out of the room.

The only time our neighborhood made the news was when something bad went down, and the talk in school was about the shooting and who knew the guy who had been killed. It was a hot subject in the morning but had cooled down by lunchtime. A helicopter had gone down in Afghanistan, and that made the front page of the newspaper. The main inside story was about some girl singer getting a divorce and accusing her husband of fooling around with her sister. That was good, because I knew Mom would be looking for news about the shooting. Everything that went down wrong in the neighborhood upset her. I could dig where she was coming from. There had been a time, a few years ago, when the shootings and all the drug stuff were just background noise. You heard about it happening, but unless some kid my age or Jocelyn's age was hit by a stray bullet, it didn't seem that real. But when I reached fifteen, it was boys my age being shot. Mom was always warning me to be careful and stay away from gangs. That's what she understood most—the gangs.

She knew I wasn't about gangs. I was about ball. Ball made me different than guys who ended up on the sidewalk framed by some yellow tape.

"Basketball is wonderful, Son," Mom would say. "And I'm sure glad you're playing sports instead of running the streets."

She would let it go at that, but I knew she had listened to people talking about how hard it was to make it in basketball. I knew that, too. But I also knew that even if I didn't make it . . .

Game. Copyright © by Walter Myers . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Excerpted from Game by Walter Dean Myers
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Drew Lawson knows basketball is taking him places. It has to, because his grades certainly aren't. But lately his plan has run squarely into a pick. Coach's new offense has made another player a star, and Drew won't let anyone disrespect his game. Just as his team makes the playoffs, Drew must come up with something big to save his fading college prospects. It's all up to Drew to find out just how deep his game really is.

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