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While I am not entirely sure how the book Kick ended up at Night Owl Reviews, I nonetheless enjoyed the read. Perhaps this is because I am a public school educator and know this author’s work or perhaps it’s the premise under which this book was written; Walter Dean Myers paired off with Ross Workman a teen fan who emailed with Mr. Myers. Whatever the reason, Kick was a read I enjoyed on many levels.

Following Kevin Johnson and Sergeant Jerry Brown, we embark on a journey that investigates the importance of family, loyalty, trust, and perseverance. Switching point of view each chapter, Mr. Myers and Mr. Workman alternated writing from the perspective of the adult sergeant and the teen soccer player, cleverly drawing connections between the sport and Kevin’s life.

The story opens with Kevin in a juvenile detention holding center. We meet Jerry Brown and he takes an interest in the kid. Part of the reason is because Kevin’s father was a cop and was killed in the line of duty. While I initially felt that this was unfair, giving preferential treatment to children of officers, I came to realize that Jerry was actually being tougher on Kevin in many ways than he would have been on some random kid in trouble with the law.

Kevin is a troubled young man, but has a stable loving family to support him. As the book progresses, we watch the parallel lessons of how to handle his anger on and off the soccer field unfold in clever and symbolic ways. The message is never over-drawn, but it is clear and meaningful.

Having participated in high school athletics, I enjoyed that this story had a double plot line. While the detail and the specifics of the soccer games weren’t the most interesting parts of the story for me personally, they wre integral to the story line and demonstrated Kevin’s growth over the course of the book.

What I found to be most touching in this book was how Kevin slowly learned to open up over the course of the story. It was his willingness to let the adults in his life help him that he was able to overcome the obstacles he faced. Without giving away too much, Mr. Myers and Mr. Workman included some heavy issues and handled them with sensitivity and care.

It is rare to see an author take such an active interest in developing the hopes and dreams of his or her readers. To see how these seasoned and fledgling authors worked together was nothing short of inspirational…and the story works.

Kick is a tightly written story and will leave you feeling thoughtful at the end. I see great things for this book and certainly plan on purchasing class sets for the middle school where I work. 

Book Blurb for Kick

For the very first time in his decades-long career writing for teens, acclaimed and beloved author Walter Dean Myers writes with a teen, Ross Workman.

Kevin Johnson is thirteen years old. And heading for juvie. He's a good kid, a great friend, and a star striker for his Highland, New Jersey, soccer team. His team is competing for the State Cup, and he wants to prove he has more than just star-player potential. Kevin's never been in any serious trouble . . . until the night he ends up in jail. Enter Sergeant Brown, a cop assigned to be Kevin's mentor. If Kevin and Brown can learn to trust each other, they might be able to turn things around before it's too late.

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2011 4.25