|One last shot|
Author: Anderson, John David
For as long as he can remember, Malcolm has never felt like he was good enough--not even for his squabbling parents. That is, until Malcolm discovers miniature golf, the one sport he actually enjoys. Soon he is signed up for lessons and entered in tournaments. As he becomes a better golfer and finds unexpected friends at the local course, the tension between Malcolm's parents reaches a breaking point, and it's up to him to put the puzzle of his family back together again.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 11.0 Quiz: 509472
Kirkus Reviews (03/01/20)
School Library Journal (05/01/20)
Booklist (+) (04/15/20)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/06/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 04/15/2020 *Starred Review* To please his father, 12-year-old Malcolm tries to take an interest in competitive sports, but the only one he enjoys is miniature golf. Even there, Dad takes charge, hiring a coach and signing Malcolm up for a national tournament. Frank, the coach, may be unconventional in his approach, but you can’t argue with the results of his teaching, which extend beyond putting skills to broader life lessons. He even facilitates Malcolm’s friendship with Lex, a girl Malcolm meets during practice. Caught in the long-term crossfire between his parents, Malcolm has plenty of built-up tension, but the combination of Frank’s offbeat coaching and Lex’s enthusiasm helps him grow in both putting skills and confidence, while developing an outlook that’s all his own. The author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day (2016) and Posted (2017), Anderson divides the novel into 18 chapters, one for each hole of the championship game. Malcolm narrates, musing on the hole’s challenges, then looking back and telling the next segment of his absorbing story. The scenes of his parents’ bickering are described with sensitivity to every nuance of speech and body language. Readers will cheer when Malcolm finally comes into his own. A well-crafted, emotionally resonant book, brightened by irrepressible wit. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
Booklist - 04/15/2020 - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2020 Gr 4 Up—Malcolm, a quirky kid who hears voices in his head, feels like he just keeps falling short. He's torn between his parents, who are on the brink of separation, and wrongly assumes he is the reason for their unhappiness. When Malcolm's father commandeers his son's newfound interest in miniature golf, Malcolm reluctantly agrees to sign up for a tournament. Malcolm hopes that if he can ace the tournament, his parents might reconcile. Along the way, he finds a new best friend in Lex, who helps him navigate the ache of divorced parents. And then there's Frank, a washed-up golfer turned golf coach who seems to be in it just for the lesson payments, but transforms into a confidant and role model. Malcolm soon learns that golf has a lot more to do with life than he ever thought, and that he's not responsible for fixing his family. As in his previous novels, Anderson beautifully blends tough topics and humor, perfecting the recipe for young readers. Malcolm's struggles with his love and heartbreak for his parents, and the news of the loss of a premature brother, will resonate with readers as he negotiates the new roles in his family. VERDICT Sure to be a well-loved addition to every collection, this belongs on the shelf of every library that serves middle grade readers.—Amy McInerney, Falmouth Elementary School, ME - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.