We Are the Wildcats

S. & S. Mar. 2020. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534439900.
Gr 8 Up–Last year the Wildcats, the varsity field hockey team, had a winning season, until they lost the state finals for the first time in years. The night before the first game of the new season, the team holds the traditional sleepover to forge friendship and trust, but this year Coach interferes. Coach, a former Olympic-hopeful player, enlists new team member and youngest player Luci to keep him apprised of the team’s activities. Grace dyes her hair blue to show her team spirit and try to fit in. Ali, who blames herself for the championship loss, is uncomfortable with the other girls. Phoebe, whose injury kept her from helping the team win, tries to hide the pain from her knee surgery. And Mel, the player closest to Coach, tries to make the night like every other, despite things that keep going awry. Secretly maneuvered by Coach, the girls find themselves kidnapping the other team’s mascot and ultimately sharing secrets that take them all by surprise. The ending plot twist, the strong female characters, and the solid writing make this a hard-to-put-down read with appeal even for those who are not sports fans. Vivian’s development of plot by using the perspectives of multiple characters keeps the narrative moving at a steady pace. The characters are both flawed and likable, and the bond that develops among them is realistic.
VERDICT A first purchase with lots of appeal, both for athletes and readers on the sideline.

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