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Boost Hardcover – September 4, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 6–9—Savvy Christopher and her older sister, Callie, each have their own "one thing," and when they move from Arizona to Rhode Island, that's what they rely on to help them adjust. Savvy quickly shows her stuff when, not yet in high school, she is accepted on the elite 18-and-under basketball team. Callie's passion is cheerleading, but stress has caused her to gain weight, and she is devastated to find that she no longer qualifies to be one of the fliers on the squad at her new school. She goes on a strict exercise and diet regime, and Savvy, realizing how quickly her sister is losing weight, brings it to the attention of their parents. They put a stop to Callie's use of over-the-counter diet aids, which does nothing to improve the already strained relationship between the sisters. In October, one of Savvy's basketball games is interrupted by a detective who has been alerted to a bag of steroids in her locker. She insists that they are not her pills, but the fact that she has been on prednisone for a bad case of poison ivy does not help her case. Savvy and her coach are temporarily suspended, and Savvy finds that even close friends regard her innocence with some doubt. As with Mad Cat (HarperCollins, 2005), Mackel has turned a tough subject in the world of teen competitive sports into a highly readable blend of intense action, interfamily relationships, and intrigue. Readers will come away with a better understanding of the controversy surrounding steroid use, and with an appreciation for a talented voice in young adult literature.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Savvy Christopher and her family have just moved to a sheep ranch in Rhode Island in the wake of her father’s crippling accident. Thirteen years old, and already six foot two inches tall, Savvy plays basketball well enough to earn a place on an 18-and-under squad, The Fire. Her older sister Callie is a cheerleader and lands a spot on the varsity squad. The pressures to perform at the highest level, combined with Savvy’s precarious family situation, the rigors of life on the ranch, the politics of elite competition, and all the regular trappings of hormonal adolescence push the sisters to the breaking point. After a rival player finds steroids in Savvy’s gym bag, her family’s tenuous integrity crumbles, leaving her alone on all fronts. Mackel packs plenty of dramatic turbulence into Savvy’s eighth-grade year. With careful characterizations and honest relationships, she keeps the trouble contained and directed, though, much as Savvy herself organizes her gangly limbs and driven energy into focused athletic success. Grades 6-9. --Thom Barthelmess
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books (September 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803732406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803732407
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 5.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #610,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Abbi Briscoe on October 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
In the book Boost, written by author Katy Mackel in 2008, a girl named Savvy Christopher goes through various obstacles in her life, that will truth will prevail in the end. Many times throughout the book Mackel tries to subliminally reveal the theme, doing so through speaking in first person of a thirteen year old girl.

In the beginning of the book, Savvy and her older sister move to a new city, where each girl becomes involved in their favorite sport, basketball and cheerleading. As both struggle to get to the top of not only their game, but the social ladder as well, they find theme selves pushing harder and one even ends up going too far, trying to "boost" themselves.

The author felt strongly about truth because she brought it out more than once throughout the book in a range of ways. For example, Savvy becomes close to a boy that she feels likes her back a s well, unfortunately she gets a rude wakeup call when she discovers him kissing her sister when she follows him into the woods. I also feel she wrote it to make her audience (young adult-girls) aware of the dangers that come with lying and trying to run from your faults. Like in the book when Savvy's coach tries to cover up a mistake he made in his earlier coaching career with trying to help one of his players "get ahead." Even through the book has a fairly happy ending, it still shows the conflicts that could easily be prevented if only certain precautions were taken.

Since her writing is in first person, she allows you to really bond with the main character and the language she uses allows her young audience to connect because it is fairly modern and youthful.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Modern Prose Reviews on April 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book for girls who love sports. Savvy Christopher, 13 has just moved to Rhode Island from New Mexico. She and her sister Callie are in sports. Savvy is a basketball player, its her passion pretty much. Callie is a gymnist and a cheerleader. Over the summer Callie has gained weight do to being depressed that she had to move away from her hometown, big house, and friends. Savvy is trying out for U-18 Fire basketball team. She makes the team, but her coach and the other players are hard on her because she is younger than them and she has a lot of talent. Well Savvy is at a game when a rival teammate finds a bag of steroids in her bag. She is investigated, and suspended from the team until further notice. She is not allowed to play in her teams tournament the next day. Savvy is having a drug test to prove those pills aren't hers. To find out if they are hers or not read this great book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By :) on January 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
After beginning this book, i could not stop reading it; it was the best book i had read in a long time. It clearly shows the struggles of being on top and how far that will drive some people. It is not just a good book for basketball fans, but fans of any sport, especially those that are teen athletes. It shows everything from human nature to drugs to eating disorders so "Boost" is sure to keep you turning the page.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matthew McCann on February 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
I love reading young adult literature. As an English teacher for 13 years, I have read quite a bit of variety, but am always entertained by YA novels with strong female leads. Savvy Christopher, Mackel's main character does not disappoint. Her story unfolds gradually revealing several familiar conflicts teens face. At first, I expected Savvy to be an addiction victim, but Mackel does an amazing job of avoiding that. Instead, Savvy is a victim of her own drive and push to achieve. Because of this, and because of the familar conflicts, Savvy will appeal to young readers.

The story is sincere and realistic. Nothing about Mackel's writing is sensational. Though circumstances Savvy faces are not familiar to all teens, her feelings and conflicts are. Savvy, just like any teenager wants to belong. She wants to succeed. She seeks approval in her own way. Savanna also dares to be different than everyone, despite her circumstances. These traits, and an incredible first-person perspective, quickly captivate readers and pull them into an unforgettable story.

I also appreciate Mackel's ability to address serious issues without being preachy. Readers will identify with the ideas presented and accept them because of Mackel's informative and genuine style. She teachers the reader. Even the fallen adults who surround Savvy seem genuine and familiar. This is important in YA literature, because kids want stories which develop identity despite adult expectations and restrictions. Mackel's Boost does this well.

I read a chapter of this book to my 8th graders and immediately hooked several readers. My next step is to buy several copies for my classroom to create a lit circle which students will compete to participate in. With the creativity and skill Mackel used in writing this book, recruiting students who will love it will be a slam dunk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Larkin on May 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Please check out my student-run blog - where all we do is review current teen fiction!

[...]

Do you play basketball? I sure don't. Why you ask? Well, I'm as clumsy as an elephant trying to stand on one leg. But that didn't stop me from loving the book, Boost. Savvy Christopher and her family moved onto a ranch in Rhode Island, leaving behind their beautiful home in Texas and all their friends. I would hate moving that distance, wouldn't you? Anyways, Savvy is an amazing basketball player, and even though she's only 13, she's 6 foot 2. (Whoa, talk about your WNBA player!) Savvy plays basketball well enough to earn a spot on the U-18 team, The Fire. The season is going great for Savvy, until a rival player sees steroids in Savvy's gym bag. This is where everything starts going down hill. Savvy tries to keep everything under control, but it's as hard as splitting an atom into smaller and smaller pieces. The worst part is, she's not allowed to play in her team's basketball tournament because they need the drug testing results first, to see if she was really taking steroids or not. I was on the edge of my seat reading to find out if the pills were really Savvy's. What was that? You want to know if the pills were hers? Well, don't expect me to tell you! Go get that book and get reading!

I can easily say that Kathy Mackel is an outstanding author. The beginning starts off automatically interesting, with Savvy trying out for The Fire. Her practice makes perfect, and what do you know, she's on the team! And she's not just on the team; she becomes the star player of the team. This book gave me a mixture of feelings at all different points. Happy, mad, frustrated, giggly, depressed, heart broken and most of all... ecstatic!
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