You Don’t Have a Shot

Feiwel & Friends. May 2023. 384p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250836298.
Gr 8 Up–After her mother’s death, Valentina Castillo-Green threw herself into soccer—the sport her mother played as a young girl and that her father pushes Valentina to excel at. Now, four years later, 17-year-old Valentina has lost an important game and the captaincy of her school’s varsity soccer team. Her chance of obtaining offers from colleges decreases as her father’s disappointment increases. When her best friends Dina and Ovie suggest returning for one last summer to the camp they went to as children, Valentina ultimately agrees. When she arrives, not only is she surprised to find out that the soccer teams at the camp are serious and lead to major school offers, but she also learns that she must co-captain a team with her biggest rival, Leticia Ortiz. What starts off as an uncertain summer co-captaining a struggling team turns into a life-changing experience where Vale finds new friendships and realizations that bring her closer to her brothers, helping her realize she doesn’t have to treat others like her father treats her. Along the way, Vale experiences love with the one girl she always thought would be her rival. This realistic fiction novel will have readers turning the pages, experiencing the flurry of emotions Vale does—from uncertainty, to painful confrontations, to hope and happiness. Vale is Colombian on her mother’s side and Irish-American on her father’s, and identifies as queer.
VERDICT A fast-paced novel with a unique protagonist who discovers first love, truths about herself, and takes back the love for soccer she had left behind.

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