Saturday, February 22, 2014

Bates, Sonya Spreen. Topspin. (Orca Sports)

Bates, Sonya Spreen.  Topspin. (Orca Sports)    Orca  2013  147p  $9.95 ISBN 978-1-4598-0385-5 ms/hs  Conflict, Sports  VG-BN

Kat, Miri and Hamish all have the same coach. On their flight to Melbourne for the tournament, Miri is jealous of her boyfriend’s (Hamish’s) flirting with the flight attendants. Upon arrival at Melbourne, Kat is overwhelmed by her first experience at the famed tennis courts. She has a chance of being competitive in the women’s singles for age 16 and under. And partnering with Miri, she has a chance at a doubles title as well. But from the first night on, Kat is suspicious of Miri and a boy named Dray, worrying that they are out to sabotage Hamish in his quest to be ranked number one internationally in the 16 and Under division. In between tense tennis action, scouting the competition to get a handle on their weaknesses, and psyching out opponents, there are the sub plots of sleuthing, drug accusations, and the challenges presented by out-of-control parents. The junior level of international tennis competition is well depicted, with the fierce rivalries, training requirements, and the intense love of the game. The importance of grit and determination combined with skill comes across brilliantly. This will be a sure-fire hit with hi-lo readers who are tennis lovers and a good whodunnit suspense novel for mystery lovers.       

Summary: A hi/lo sports title. At a Melbourne Park tennis tournament, Kat has singles potential, and with Miri she may have a chance to win doubles. Hamish is trying to capture the men’s tennis championship. Subterfuge, skill and grit all interplay with great tennis action. Gr 6-12.

Tennis-Fiction, Sports competition-Fiction                        --Lois McNicol

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