CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 16. . . .December 21, 2012
Gavin's headed for the high school with the worst soccer team in the city, Vandyke Secondary. But when he gets to Vandyke, the news is worse: there's no soccer team at all. So with his best friends Critter and Mido, and his "footy"-loving grandfather supporting him, Gavin decides to start and coach the soccer team himself. It's not as easy as it seems, and the obstacles rise as Gavin struggles to take down all the doubts and lead his team to success.
An interesting premise is backed by authentic soccer scenes in this short novel. Drills are practiced, matches are watched and games are played out highlight-by-highlight. The relationship between coach and players is also depicted well and expounded upon as a source of tension.
Gavin's grandfather represents tradition and shows a distinctly Canadian touch to the story. He also balances out Gavin's school troubles with his home life and allows for more character development; however, the end twist may stretch beyond the emotional investment the reader has in the story. Gavin's friends Critter and Mido are equally well-developed, and all three boys play off one another with believable banter.
The dialogue wavers between believable and not (occasionally the diction resembles a colloquial adult's as opposed to a middle-grader's), but with authentic real-life situations and realistic soccer scenes, Playing Favourites stands well as a story of friendship and sportsmanship.
Yahong Chi is a blogger and writer in Ottawa, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal
use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any
other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.