Reviewed by Dianna Geers for TeensReadToo.com
Jackson is beginning his senior year with one goal: To play basketball and get a college scholarship to a division I college. He lives with Granny (who is not his actual grandmother, but rather a kind neighbor who took him in when things "got crazy" about a year ago). Even though Jackson didn't play basketball during the previous year's season due to a broken hand, he's been honing his skills with friends from his school's rival team. Even though he still battles ferocious acne and shyness, Jackson feels he is handling life well and is looking forward to when basketball practice begins.
That's when the coach informs Jackson that he won't be a starting player. He is the only good senior and the coach's goal is to develop the younger players in hopes of a winning season next year.
And Jackson wonders why everything he touches turns out bad. He's separated from his family, won't be able to get that scholarship, and he is being shunned by most people at his school. He even considers quitting the team. On several occasions.
Will Jackson chase his dream when there doesn't seem to be any hope? Will others' actions choose the destiny of his life or will he be in charge? That's a tough question for a high school senior to figure out.
Many readers will relate to Jackson's self-doubt and will understand why he might give up. Readers will also cheer for Jackson as he makes small steps towards recovering from his turbulent past and to live for himself rather than others.
HOOPS OF STEEL is a realistic book full of real pain and real surprises. It is also filled with good friends, hope, and determination. If only everyone would continue to do what they love even if it might not make their dreams come true.