Sunday, February 10, 2013

THE FINAL FOUR by Paul Volponi

Wow!  This is the best Paul Volponi book ever!!

It's the Michigan State Spartans and the Trojans of Troy University in the semi-finals of the NCAA Championships.  It's March Madness at its best!

Volponi creates an amazing story that focuses on the final few minutes of the semi-final game and the multiple overtime periods that follow regular play.  The play by play action is fast paced and intense, but what will really grab readers is how Volponi weaves in the back stories of four of the key players from the two teams.  Readers will learn what brought each player to this important game, what drives them to succeed, and what they dream of beyond the basketball court. 

Malcolm is a freshman who sees this opportunity as his ticket to the NBA and his chance to get his family out of the projects of Detroit.  Koko, a native of Croatia, is grateful for the education he is getting at an American university.  Crispin's focus on his cheerleader girlfriend threatens to take his attention away from the game just when his teammates need him the most.  Finally, MJ, named after the great Michael Jordan, just wants a chance to prove he is deserving of his name and his place on the team.

Volponi combines the game action sequences with news articles, journal entries, broadcasters' commentary, interviews, and background narratives about the players' personal lives.  Everything flows smoothly and makes THE FINAL FOUR nearly impossible to put down.

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