The pursuit of luck is the guiding force behind this appealing middle-grade sports novel about soccer and friendship. You don’t have to be a crazed soccer fan to be captivated by the tribulations of twelve-year-old Ari Fish, starting goalie on the Somerset Valley soccer team, and best friend of Jerry “Mac” MacDonald, the star player. What will bring Ari the most luck and enable his team to win the championships? Ari obsessively memorizes American presidents, finds a rare Wayne Timcoe trading card, and colludes with Mac to prevent Parker, the only girl on the team, from getting a chance to play. And who needs luck the most—Ari, or Sam, his firefighter older brother and role model? Ari lives with a supportive Jewish family, and represents the average American suburban kid; juggling his school life, his team needs, his friendships, and his upcoming Bar Mitzvah. Middle grade readers will be engaged by Ari’s wry humor as he comes to an eventual realization of how family, forgiveness, trust, and friendship are just as important as winning the game. Sarah Aronson skillfully captures just the right amount of both torment and elation in the voice of her young protagonist that will appeal to both boys and girls who like contemporary and fast-moving novels that mirror real life. For ages 9–12.
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