'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 11 October 2019

Review: Take The Shot

Dougal “Bug” Fyfe is keeping a few secrets. He has been recently diagnosed with a rare genetic condition that results in a time-bomb ticking in his aorta – so playing sports is out. 

Trouble is, he lives and breathes basketball. So when he is tasked with forming a basketball team at his new school, he needs to keep this little project hidden from his parents’ attention. 

And given how poorly his friends at his previous school responded to the news of his ‘syndrome’ he keeps his diagnosis away from his new group of friends. They have no idea that Bug risks his life every time he exerts himself.

This debut novel from Susan White is warm hearted and fun. It’s about acceptance and trust. It’s about being a new kid who looks weird and believes his only attribute is his basketball prowess. 

It’s about responding to nastiness with kindness and making hard choices.

Told with a huge dollop of humour, there’s lots to like about this novel. I especially liked that the character of the class bully Doof was more than a one-dimensional antagonist. 

White focuses beyond stereotypes. She could have portrayed Doof as the typical meat-headed football champion who vents his spite on the nerdy misfits. 

And for a while, this is the case – Bug believed his days were numbered after accidentally 'dacking' Doof in front of the whole class. But White allows Doof to develop and show more depth. An unlikely friendship develops between the pair.

White adeptly builds the tension as the basketball team, the Fidos, find their stride and are headed for the finals. But the team mates suspect that Bug is not all that he seems, especially since a boy from his previous team – now their main rival for the final – starts to drop rather obvious hints.

In the end, this is about Bug discovering that it’s neither his skills as a basketballer, nor his syndrome that define him. It’s also about identifying which risks are worth taking. 

Title: Take The Shot
Author: Susan White 
Publisher: Affirm Press, $16.99 
Publication Date: 23 July, 2019 
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781925712957
For ages: 11 – 14 
Type: Young Adult Fiction