February 25, 2018

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After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay | SLJ Review

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redstarRIBAY, Randy. After the Shot Drops. 336p. HMH. Mar. 2018. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781328702272. POP

Gr 8 Up –A dually narrated story of two teen boys, Bunny and Nasir, struggling with a dying friendship shapes Ribay’s latest. Nasir feels abandoned after Bunny leaves their school to attend an upscale private school to play basketball and is dating Keyona, a girl he had always been interested in. The season is going well and the team, led by Bunny, is on its way to winning a state title. But Nasir’s friend Wallace is digging himself deeper into debt and physical trouble, placing bets on high school games and against Bunny’s specifically. Nasir then becomes complicit in sabotaging Bunny’s chances with explosive and life-altering consequences. Not only is the book well-paced with short chapters switching perspectives, the secondary characters are rich in detail, and Bunny and Nasir are fully realized protagonists with families, friendship, school, and sports. Drama propels the story forward while its emotional appeal builds empathy for both boys’ circumstances. Seamlessly, tension exacerbates the weighty choices that come with their responsibilities. And while the climax is predictable, it feels inevitable. The trajectory of each boy’s future is in the hands of the third teen, Wallace. Without a doubt, Ribay’s compelling book belongs on the shelf alongside contemporary heavy-hitters like Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds’s All-American Boys, and Nic Stone’s Dear MartinVERDICT A must-have for YA shelves.–Alicia Abdul, Albany High School, NY

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2018 issue.

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