Monday, August 1, 2011

BEYOND LUCKY by Sarah Aronson

Somerset Valley soccer has a great history, and this year's team looks promising.  What Ari Fish wants most is to be the starting keeper for the team.

Ari's friend Mac is one of the best players on the team, and after tryouts, he tells Ari there's nothing to worry about.  Ari is not so sure.  He has a lot of superstitious rituals that involve reciting the presidents, reading his horoscope, and eating just the right combination of breakfast cereals.  On the morning of tryouts, things don't go exactly as planned so Ari is worried about his ability to impress the coach.  Complicating the matter is the fact that, for the first time ever, a girl is trying out for the team, and she has her sights set on the same position as Ari.

Amazingly, luck is on Ari's side.  Coach calls with the good news, and at the same time, Ari's other dream also comes true.  He finds a Wayne Timcoe soccer trading card.  Timcoe began his career with the Somerset Valley team making him a hometown hero.  Having found this hard-to-find card practically guarantees Ari's success.  He can hardly wait for the weekly call from his brother Sam who is fighting forest fires out West.  Hopefully, the trading card will bring Sam luck, too, and keep him safe in his new career as a smokejumper.

Life is terrific!  That is until the Wayne Timcoe card disappears.  Just when Ari needs it the most, the card is stolen, and possibly by someone on his own team.  His life is turned upside down as longtime friendships sour, new friendships crumble, and family stress increases.  And if that's not bad enough, his performance in the net tanks.

BEYOND LUCKY is a fast-paced sports adventure and much more.  Author Sarah Aronson combines soccer, friends, family, and a little bit of information about the Jewish faith to create a sure winner.  Ari is a likable main character with just the right amount of determination and courage to inspire middle grade readers whether they are sports fans or not.

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