Rez Ball

HarperAudio. Sept. 2023. 814p. $27.99. ISBN 9780063160408.
Gr 8 Up–Tre was “not really into sports,” unlike brother Jaxon and their father who were “rez ball” superstars. After shooting up from 5’9” to 6’4” he “gave basketball a try and was surprisingly good at it,” thanks to Jaxon’s coaching. But Jaxon’s dead, and Tre’s become the next big hope to get the Warriors to the state championships. Graves’s novel could have been just another glorified sports story, but he delivers much more—the never-ending racism on and off the courts, the joy of “rez ball,” truncated futures when the season ends. Newbie Nobess, one of the National Screen Institute’s 2022 CBC New Indigenous Voices, a program for emerging creators, is a nuanced narrator, effectively ciphering multiple generations with and without the lyrical “rez accent.” He proves especially facile with injecting thrilling anticipation into the many games that jump off Graves’s pages.
VERDICT Once started, even the most reluctant readers will be hard-pressed to hit the pause button.

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