4 out of 4 stars
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For some aspiring athletes, basketball is more than just a game- it’s a way of life, something they work at every day both to improve and because they love it. Hillary Broome Kiffin and her twelve-year-old daughter Claire are no exception. Working with Sunny Singh Developers to promote the opening of a community center focused on youth sports in downtown Sacramento, California, Hillary faces some opposition because of her boss’s plans for Sacramento to undergo severe gentrification. Charlie Bierce, one of Hillary’s old professors and the father of Claire’s basketball coach, blatantly disagrees with these plans and wants to preserve his historic town, causing trouble for Hillary and her boss. Meanwhile, Claire faces adversities that force Hillary to consider searching for Claire’s grandmother who abandoned the family long ago.
House of Hoops by June Gillam focuses on community and city issues as well as conflict within families. It was written in the first person with two narrators, Charlie and Hillary. I was impressed with the author’s capabilities in character development, allowing the reader to empathize and understand Charlie and Hillary as well as get a sense of their values. This novel is part of a series, and although I had not read the books previous to House of Hoops, I had no problem picking up on the characters’ personalities and the plot.
One aspect of the book I thought was especially intriguing was the epigraphs from a source called The Devil’s Dictionary written by a supposed relative of one of the characters, Ambrose Bierce, who actually wrote The Devil’s Dictionary in real life in the early 1900s. These excerpts contained the satirical and unique definitions of common words as shown in this modified dictionary and often hinted at what the contents of the following chapter could be associated with. Overall, this was a very clever addition to the book and the modified definitions gave me valuable insight and different perspectives.
As for negative aspects, I could not find any. This book contained very few errors and the characters were unique and full of personality. I could easily understand the relationships between the characters and how they contributed to the story. The flow of the story was seamless and contained creative plot twists coupled with empathy-inducing emotional scenes. Because of these factors, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
I recommend this book to those who value women's rights, community, and sports as well as family conflicts. This book would fit best with teen and young adult readers.
House of Hoops
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