One thing’s for sure: PJ Farris knows basketball!
In this young adult novel released by Mayhaven Publishing, Joe Perkins is a young man desperately in love with the game of basketball and willing to do anything to improve his playing skills. However, his father—a hardworking, relentless farmer—is constantly after Joe to help out more on the farm. Joe concedes, but always with his mind on the courts.
Unfortunately, Joe’s father becomes seriously injured in a car accident and now Joe, along with his grandfather, must somehow meet the farm’s every need if they hope to keep it alive. Before long, they hire Cuda, an older boy and star basketball player. An unlikely bond forms between the two ballers, and Joe even learns a thing or two from both his granddad and Cuda. But will their combined efforts be enough to keep the farm afloat in the father’s absence? And will his sudden preoccupation with the farm prevent Joe from reaching his basketball goals?
Farris did a nice job of providing a streamlined story full of conflict, tension, and humor. Joe underwent serious change throughout the novel, which is always the sign of strong characterization. In fact, all of the main players were believable and utilized a distinct, charismatic personality. Even Joe’s father—dour as he was—proved to be multilayered and identifiable in the end.
As mentioned, the novel had some truly funny moments, but it also contained very serious, life-threatening situations as well. Farris juggled the changes in tone seamlessly, and, like life, one led to the other and then back again without much ruckus.
Being from a small, rural community, I especially appreciated the accuracy of farm life displayed throughout the story. Farris has obviously spent time in the country because the farm machinery, livestock, industry methods, and even dialogue reflected the reality of country life.
Moreover, Farris knows the game of basketball. No matter what Joe does, he always relates it to his game, often recounting lessons from his coach and things he’s learned on the court. Farris, through narration, delivers several fundamentals of basketball in such a way that readers can’t help but pick up a helpful tip or two about the sport. Best of all? Everything mentioned about basketball is correct and essential to playing well. If I had to guess, I’d say Farris has coached a player or two over the years.
Crossover Dribble has crossover appeal to all readers, whether they are basketball fans or those wanting to read about farm life. Young adults will surely find the novel approachable, informative, and exciting.