Hooper
From Geoff Herbach, the critically acclaimed author of the Stupid Fast series, comes a compelling new YA novel about basketball, prejudice, privilege, and family, perfect for fans of Jordan Sonnenblick, Andrew Smith, and Matt de la Peña.For Adam Reed, basketball is a passport. Adam’s basketball skills have taken him from an orphanage in Poland to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota. When he’s tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, it just confirms that basketball is his ticket to the good life: to new friendships, to the girl of his dreams, to a better future.But life is more complicated off the court. When an incident with the police threatens to break apart the bonds Adam’s finally formed after a lifetime of struggle, he must make an impossible choice between his new family and the sport that’s given him everything.

Hooper Details

TitleHooper
Author
ReleaseFeb 20th, 2018
PublisherKatherine Tegen Books
ISBN-139780062453112
Rating
GenreSports and Games, Sports, Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction

Hooper Review

  • Madison
    January 1, 1970
    It is going to be hard to put the magic of this book into words. What at first seems to be a simple tale about a boy who plays basketball is actually a richly detailed and poignant story of family, belonging, racial injustice, finding home, and settling into the person you were meant to be. Hooper, with a style all of its own, captures these timely themes in an original and approachable way.“Basketball will be your passport.” Adam doesn’t exactly understand what that means. After all, he already It is going to be hard to put the magic of this book into words. What at first seems to be a simple tale about a boy who plays basketball is actually a richly detailed and poignant story of family, belonging, racial injustice, finding home, and settling into the person you were meant to be. Hooper, with a style all of its own, captures these timely themes in an original and approachable way.“Basketball will be your passport.” Adam doesn’t exactly understand what that means. After all, he already has a passport from when Renata adopted him and brought him from Poland to his new home in the USA. But he does love basketball. Loves the freedom he finds only on the court. Loves the way it silences the anger and painful memories. As his basketball skills start to give him new opportunities on the court, Adam must balance these with the challenges he faces off the court. And maybe, through it all, he will discover a home, family, and friends, and finally a place where he belongs.Hooper is a timely, addictive, and powerful book. The first thing that struck me was the clarity and uniqueness of Adam’s voice. Herbach’s writing immediately conjured for me the voice of this 16-year-old boy, with slightly faltering English, and a unique view of his world. Through his adventures of the next few months, Adam’s English improves, as does his understanding of social situations, how others view him, and how he can influence this.Hooper highlights the importance of relationships: friendship, family, romantic relationships, team cohesion, and that incredible feeling that you belong. Through each of these relationships - with his friend Barry, with his adopted mother, with his new and old teammates, with crush/friend/more Carli Anderson - Adam learns something about himself and about others. I didn’t want to put this book down. There was just something that captured me. The short chapters, awesome chapter titles, and Adam himself made this a book that was all too easy to love. But it continually surprised me, first with how much I enjoyed it and also with the many layers that are continually added to the story. Racial prejudice and injustice become important themes in the story, as Adam learns the power of one voice and the power of many voices. So too, bullying, violence and how to control these situations are timely subjects. And of course, the themes of accepting others, understanding and celebrating difference, and learning to work together are neatly woven throughout the story. Never preaching, but, as Adam’s friends do for him, gently showing.Okay, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this book justice. No words can fully express how this book surprised and enchanted me, captured my attention, and impressed me with its unique character voice, portrayal of topical themes, and how it entwined all this in a highly readable book about a brave young boy and his love of basketball. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library.
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  • Katie Fitzgerald
    January 1, 1970
    Adam Reed, formerly Adam Sobieski, spent his childhood in Poland in less-than-ideal circumstances. Now that he has been adopted by Renata, his American mother, he lives in Minnesota and attends the local high school, where he is an up-and-coming basketball star and best friend to outsider Barry, who has a number of family issues himself. Though Adam knows that basketball is his passport to all the good things life has to offer, and has in fact been invited to join a prestigious travel team calle Adam Reed, formerly Adam Sobieski, spent his childhood in Poland in less-than-ideal circumstances. Now that he has been adopted by Renata, his American mother, he lives in Minnesota and attends the local high school, where he is an up-and-coming basketball star and best friend to outsider Barry, who has a number of family issues himself. Though Adam knows that basketball is his passport to all the good things life has to offer, and has in fact been invited to join a prestigious travel team called the Fury, there are some roadblocks standing between him and success. He lacks confidence in his skills as an English speaker, so he often does not talk to his classmates or teammates, leading them to assume he is either disabled in some way or a snob. He also has problems managing his anger and worries about losing his temper as he sometimes did in Poland, which would jeopardize his career. With the help of Carli Anderson, another basketball star who has great empathy for Adam, and his teammates on the Fury, Adam slowly begins to come to terms with his past and to come into his own as both a person and a basketball player.I have yet to read a Geoff Herbach book I didn't love. While Hooper is more serious than Herbach's wonderful Stupid Fast trilogy, it is every bit as engrossing and fast-paced. Herbach has such a talent for creating believable characters, and Adam may be his most layered protagonist yet. Though many issues are touched on in this book - identity, diversity, racism, child abuse, immigration - the strength of the main character keeps the story from becoming bogged down in political messages. The motivation to keep reading is not the desire to see how one particular conflict is resolved, but to find out what happens to the endearing Adam in all aspects of his life.The descriptions of sports in this book are also great. I am not someone who follows sports, but I love sports fiction, and the basketball action in this book is as entertaining as everything else. Herbach does a perfect job of balancing descriptions of plays with Adam's thoughts during games and practices, and even someone like me who knows very little about sports vocabulary has no problem following everything that takes place. Herbach always reminds me of Chris Crutcher; with this book, the comparison becomes even more apt. But whereas Crutcher's characters are often very obvious representations of particular causes and problems, Herbach's Adam is just a completely believable and well-rounded person who happens to face some issues. Even after he ceases to have these problems, he would still be interesting to read about.Hooper is geared toward a teen audience, but the content is certainly appropriate for younger readers as well. There is some romance, but nothing particularly steamy, and the interplay between Adam and his teammates is very reminiscent of the way characters interact in Jason Reynolds's middle grade Track series. Kids who like Fred Bowen as fourth and fifth graders could also easily move on to this book in middle school and enjoy it, especially if they are big basketball fans.It's early in the year, but I'm already fairly certain Hooper will make my list of favorite books of the year. I'd love to see Herbach also receive some award recognition for his consistently excellent writing. Maybe in 2019? Either way, Hooper is a must-read for fans of YA sports novels. This review also appears on my blog, Read-at-Home Mom.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    January 1, 1970
    E ARC from Edelweiss PlusAdam Reed (born Sobieski) is fairly happy with his adoptive mom Renata, living in Minnesota. He hangs out with his quirky friend Barry, who has a hard life of his own, living with his mom Tiffany in a local trailer park. Adam has some anger management issues, and does not talk a lot, because he didn't get adopted until he was 11, and he doesn't feel that his English is that good. He frequently runs afoul of Kase Kinshaw, a jerk who calls him "Duh" and gives him a hard ti E ARC from Edelweiss PlusAdam Reed (born Sobieski) is fairly happy with his adoptive mom Renata, living in Minnesota. He hangs out with his quirky friend Barry, who has a hard life of his own, living with his mom Tiffany in a local trailer park. Adam has some anger management issues, and does not talk a lot, because he didn't get adopted until he was 11, and he doesn't feel that his English is that good. He frequently runs afoul of Kase Kinshaw, a jerk who calls him "Duh" and gives him a hard time at school. When his basketball skills bring him to the attention of fellow player Carli Anderson and her father, he gets an opportunity to try out for the Fury travel team. Carli helps him not only with improving his basketball skills, but is nice about driving him places when Barry's car falls apart. She also encourages him to talk more, and to interact with his new teammates so they don't think he is stuck up, and the two eventually start dating. When Renata starts dating a neighbor with two young daughters, Adam is concerned that it will end with her being unhappy, although he rather likes Michael and enjoys playing with his daughters. Throughout the course of the book, we learn more about Adam's neglected childhood in Poland, and watch as he improves his basketball skills and tries to get a handle on his internal rage so that he has a chance to attend college.Strengths: Herbach is a brilliant, brilliant writer. He understands what his audience wants, and he delivers: sports, romance, interpersonal problems, humor. He has the best ability to write a slightly off-kilter voice of any author I can think of! Adam's English isn't broken exactly, but his voice is so distinctive that I could HEAR it. The basketball details are interesting, and Carli is fantastic. She is a better player than Adam (although recovering from injuries), and she has a fantastically equal relationship with him. Adam's anger and his problem interacting with others is realistically protrayed, as is Renata and her difficulties. Adam makes a few comments about his black teammates that are insensitive, and I appreciated that these were fully discussed. Teens do sometimes make comments that show a lack of understanding, and the other players don't just react to Adam, they show him the error of his ways (in a slightly angry fashion, which is also realistic) and he is able to understand what he did wrong and change his views. We need more of this in teen literature. Enjoyed this tremendously. Herbach's Stupid Fast, Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders, and Anything You Want (which is definitely YA) are all fantastic.Weaknesses: While I understood the genesis of Adam's social difficulties, it might have helped to have a tiny bit of explanation about how childhood trauma can lead to issues of anger and failure to connect with others. Not sure how you would work them in. What I really think: While Adam is an older high school student, Herbach is circumspect in language and situations enough that this is perfect for middle school students who want more of a challenging read.
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  • Nina O'Daniels
    January 1, 1970
    Sports, love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are good for some kids. It’s their salvation, their “passport” to a better life. For Adam Reed, it’s both. Adam lives with his adoptive mother, Renata, after she found him cold, hungry, and very alone in a park in Poland. Being in the US has been a transition, to say the least, and his grasp of the language, culture, and slang is a work in progress. The best thing to happen to him, besides being adopted, is that he has found basketball. He’s only been playing t Sports, love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are good for some kids. It’s their salvation, their “passport” to a better life. For Adam Reed, it’s both. Adam lives with his adoptive mother, Renata, after she found him cold, hungry, and very alone in a park in Poland. Being in the US has been a transition, to say the least, and his grasp of the language, culture, and slang is a work in progress. The best thing to happen to him, besides being adopted, is that he has found basketball. He’s only been playing three years and devotes all of his time to practicing, almost in a manic sort of way. And he’s good, really good. The only problem is, he doesn’t understand the concept of a team. He understands how it works but not the dynamics that need to happen off the court, to anticipate your teammate's move on the court before they do, to need someone else. Regardless of his power on the court, his school teammates have no love for him off of it. His silence, he rarely talks, doesn’t help. His only friend is Barry, an ostracized, quirky boy whom he met while running through Barry’s trailer park. Carli Anderson, a girl wonder basketball player, sees the potential in him and hooks him up with a tryout for an AAU team. Her dad is a college coach, so she knows basketball politics and guides Adam as much as she can. Adam doesn’t fully understand the prestige of making an elite AAU team or why his all African American teammates dislike him so much. “Farmer”, as he is not so affectionately called by them, takes it in stride and understands that he has much to learn, so learn he does. Extra practices, watching Youtube video after video, practices with Carli that involve more than just basketball, and trips to his teammate’s house help him get the concept of team. When racial tensions, something Adam does not understand, threaten the team, he is forced to make a decision that could alter his future with basketball. So, that’s the gist of it, but there is SO MUCH MORE. Herbach takes this seemingly banal sports story (truth be told, it’s not original) and takes the reader on a journey through this lonely and confused teenager’s life as he struggles to make sense of most everything. His traumatic background doesn’t allow for much understanding when it comes to love, family, and friends and it takes him some hard lessons and time to see that he is loved. He does have friends. He does have family that cares for him. Not only is Adam living in a new country, with a new language and traditions he doesn’t understand, he is also still a teenager. Underlying his decisions, emotions, and behavior is this heart of a teenager who just wants to be loved and play basketball. It’s simple, really, but getting there isn’t. There are so many good people in his life that are important to this story- Barry, I’m looking at you- that round out his experience. While I didn’t love everything about this book, the stilted writing mimics Adam’s grasp of the English language and some plots/characters that weren’t as fleshed out as I’d like, I appreciate all that it was trying to accomplish. Regardless, anyone who is a sports or basketball fan will devour the details of practice, making shots, boxing out, and the intricacies and plays of the sport while those who don’t care will still pick up this quick and timely read and be glad they did.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    The great thing about this book is how Geoff Herbach shows readers that athletics can give a kid hope. Hope for a future he or she has never considered, or hope for a future he or she didn't think possible.Herbach's hero, Adam, is a Polish kid who essentially was orphaned. When he comes to the United States, it is with all of that hope that so many refugees and immigrants come with: the hope that he can make his dreams come true. If you think that Herbach is sending a message with this, I suspec The great thing about this book is how Geoff Herbach shows readers that athletics can give a kid hope. Hope for a future he or she has never considered, or hope for a future he or she didn't think possible.Herbach's hero, Adam, is a Polish kid who essentially was orphaned. When he comes to the United States, it is with all of that hope that so many refugees and immigrants come with: the hope that he can make his dreams come true. If you think that Herbach is sending a message with this, I suspect you might be correct.Not that Adam is perfect. He makes silly mistakes, borne of both being a teenager and adapting to a new culture. He likes a girl who may or may not like him back (whether you're a native US citizen or not, understanding teenage girls is a tricky path for teenage boys), and he may or may not have outraged and/or hurt teammates, classmates, opponents, and perhaps the woman who adopted him.In other words, Adam is a pretty typical high school boy.What differentiates him is his skill at basketball. For Adam, this is another piece of hope, but it's also a means to escape his lingering heartache and distract himself from the stresses in his life.One of the most difficult readers to hook is the teenage male. Geoff Herbach has given them a pretty fantastic slam dunk. GET IT?
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  • Dan
    January 1, 1970
    Review to come closer to release date.
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