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Author: Alexander, Kwame
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Year Published: 2016
ISBN: 9780544570986
Grades: Grades 7 to 12

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Newbery award winning author and poet Kwame Alexander writes a novel in verse, scoring a goal with a mix of soccer, family relationships, friendships, first crushes, and a collection of weird and wonderful words. Nick, a daydreaming soccer player, frustrated by his linguistics-professor father who makes him study new words each day, discovers that language can help him charm a difficult teacher, impress the girl he likes, deal with a menacing set of bullying twins, and help him express his emotions when his parent’s marriage falls apart. The powerful prose is offered in a blend of unique verse styles, including rap from a quirky librarian who becomes a mentor to the likable protagonist dealing with the complexities of teenage life. This authentic heartfelt story, sport-centered and fast-paced, will reel in the middle school reader for an easy read that delivers a punch.

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