FICTION

Benchwarmers

Farrar. (Benchwarmers: Bk. 1). Aug. 2019. 320p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780374312039.
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Gr 4-6–A soccer story that shoots toward female empowerment but misses the goal. Jeff knows that Andi Carillo, the only girl trying out for Merion’s 6th-grade soccer team, is one of the best players he’s ever seen. So, when the list goes up and Andi is cut, Jeff brings in his TV sports reporter Dad to cover the story. All the attention gets Andi on the team, but their coach’s resentment puts both of them on the bench. The question is how to get off of it. Jeff and Andi are poorly developed characters who only show growth on the field. Although writing about strong female soccer players is important, Andi shows no depth beyond her ability to make great passes and score goals. The story is rooted in the male gaze; no one would know of her greatness if not for the help and acceptance of her male counterparts and coaches.
VERDICT A mediocre sports book for avid soccer fans. Not recommended.

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