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The Perfect Shot (Young Adult Fiction) Hardcover – July 31, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–This engrossing thriller weaves issues of civil rights, racial prejudice, the judicial system, and the lessons of history into a suspenseful tale of a high-school senior who wants to do the right thing. Brian's girlfriend, Amanda; her sister; and their mother are shot to death in their garage. The girls' father is put on trial for the crime. On the day of the murders, however, Brian saw something that he thinks might affect the case. The story is told in flashbacks as he struggles for his life after being shot–as readers will suspect–by the true killer. What might have been a straightforward mystery grows richer as Brian compares Amanda's father's situation to the 1913 Leo Frank murder case he is researching for class. Another thread follows the arrest of Brian's friend and basketball teammate Julius, one of the few African Americans in their small Indiana town. Brian must also cope with pressure from his father to excel in basketball, and with his overwhelming grief over Amanda's death. Some of the insights about the flaws in our justice system come across as preachy, but Brian's personal dilemma–should he speak out and make waves or keep his doubts to himself–prevent the story from turning into a lesson on social justice. This novel will resonate with readers long after the final page. Sports fans will also enjoy the action-packed games as Brian attempts to lead his team to victory.–Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Public Library
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About the Author

Since her first novel for young readers appeared in 1991, Elaine Marie Alphin has published 27 books for young people and one for adults (about writing for young people). Elaine writes for readers of all ages, from Davy Crockett in Lerner's History Makers series for beginning readers up through teenage mysteries such as Counterfeit Son, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult mystery. Elaine particularly loves research, and that love impacts on all of her writing, from biographies for middle grade readers like I Have Not Yet Begun To Fight: A Story About John Paul Jones in the Creative Minds series through young adult fiction such as the history-inspired mystery, The Perfect Shot to her newest book, the stand-alone nonfiction young adult book An Unspeakable Crime: The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank. Elaine is currently at work on a new young adult novel.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 990L (What's this?)
  • Series: Young Adult Fiction
  • Hardcover: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Carolrhoda Books (July 31, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1575058626
  • ISBN-13: 978-1575058627
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,264,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Elaine Marie Alphin knew she was going to be a writer before she could even read or write. On early morning walks with her father in San Francisco, she listened to the stories he told, and made up stories to tell him, and she realized then that she wanted to spend her life making up stories. Winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Young Adult Mystery (Counterfeit Son), the ForeWard Book of the Year Award for Young Adult Fiction (The Perfect Shot), the Society of Midland Authors Children's Fiction Award and Young Hoosier Book Award (Ghost Soldier, also an Edgar Award nominee), the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award (Dinosaur Hunter), two Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators Magazine Merit Awards, and the Virginia State Reading Association Award (The Ghost Cadet), Mrs. Alphin has made writing for children and young adults, and speaking to them at schools and conferences, her dream career. Although she started out as a journalist in Houston, a tip from her husband, Art, drew her to writing for children. Her fiction and nonfiction books for youngsters from beginning readers through teenagers have been selected for Bank Street College lists, TAYSHAS lists, VOYA Top Shelf lists, and 20 Children's Choice state award lists. Although adults occasionally ask when she's going to grow up enough to write for them, Elaine Marie Alphin explains why she loves writing for young readers instead: "I always wanted my writing to challenge readers to question their assumptions, and I discovered that a lot of grown-ups don't really want to question their assumptions. They've made choices and compromises in their lives, and they want to feel comfortable about them. But young readers are still finding out who they are, like I am, I guess. They're the perfect audience for me because they want to consider new ideas in order to decide for themselves which ideas they agree with and which they don't, and work out how they want to live their lives." Elaine Marie Alphin has written one book for adults: Creating Characters Kids Will Love. It's about writing for young readers. Get to know Elaine Marie Alphin better at her website: www.elainemariealphin.com. The Alphins live in Bozeman, Montana, and spend time in South Dakota and Wyoming.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I loved this book so much! I dont see how anyone couldn't. i read it for fun and it turned out to teach me a lot about love and about law. I can understand things more clearly by relating experiences to experiences of the characters. their lives are magnificently changing and understandable. i would reccomend this book to people who love teen murder mysteries and amazing pieces of writing that touch your heart. this book made me feel, it made me cry, it made me laugh. this book is about life and understanding the situation. the characters' struggles are real and exciting. this book is amazing.

I couldnt put this book down, but at some parts i had to, this story is very intense and that made it all the more lovely.

the murder of one boy's girlfriend turns into a path to life discovery, a path that leads to the meaning of everything. read this book and follow young Brian, go down the path with him. you will discover too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read this book based on a student recommendation. What a welcome surprise. This author deserves much more recognition for her talent. I look at and read Young Adult books all the time, but I knew nothing of this book.

The Perfect Shot is a wonderful look at teen life and the struggles human beings go through when dealing with a loss. This book is also an experienced look at the struggles young adults go through when trying to figure out what their place is in this world.

The book does all of the above and accelerates the plot with a suspenseful ending that will leave the reader wanting to read whatever this author produces.

This book is a gem of a Young Adult book. This is a definite must-read.

I am now going to backtrack and read this author's other books, one of which is an Edgar Award winner.
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Format: Hardcover
Like other reviewers, I think this is a great story. There are multiple levels to the plot--a murder mystery, a run at a basketball championship, a school project mirroring real life, a friendship tested. Even with all these elements working together, the story isn't convoluted. The start of the story, though, does drag a bit, especially compared to the fast pace of the rest of the novel. Overall a great read, though--another great one by this author!--and one that boys and girls alike would enjoy.
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Format: Hardcover
The novel, The Perfect Shot, by Elaine Marie Alphin, is probably the best book I have ever read. It is basically about a teenager named Brian Hammek. He was outside playing basketball, and he watches his girlfriend get murdered. He loves to play basketball. One day he went to court to try to set his girlfriend's father free, he was kicked out of the courtroom and he hid in the bathroom and was threatened by his girlfriend's murderer. After a game he was up in his room when the murderer broke into his house and tried to kill him. He made the perfect shot on the murderer and saved his family's lives. I think the pace of this book was different than you would find in other books. It starts out fast, but then it slows down. In the end it speeds back up again. If you like thrillers, than this is a book you need to read. You never what is going to happened. That is a quick review of The Perfect Shot.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I must admit, I had not heard of this book before it appeared during a search for YA novels. The jacket sounded interesting, so I ordered it. I usually have stacks of books to read and this would have taken its place on the bottom. But something grabbed my attention as I read the flap once again: Alphin was not just telling the story of one young man's struggle to fit in, be a hero, and win the girl - like so many stacks of YA's. She was rambling through the back roads of lives and history, picking at scabs, and scars, and bones, unraveling tales and mysterious happenings through decades of lies, cover-ups, and misdeeds. I am always in the mood for a read that can't be put down - and this one is one of those! Its genuine, and brings all of us back to the place where "but for the grace of God go I." Where we need to understand that things are still not right in our world. Discrimination. What shame we still carry on our backs. I found a strong, daring, defiant young man in Brian. I would have wanted him for my son, my friend. He reminds me of a line from Ted Kennedy's eulogy for his slain brother, Robert, "He saw wrong and tried to right it." That is Brian. He wouldn't walk away. He couldn't walk away.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the ending the first time I read this book, but since I've read more and more thriller books it seems as if you can see the ending coming from a mile away. Also, some of the subplots seem to move too quickly with out any real explanation so it leaves the reader feeeling unsatisfied and questioning the novel. Not a bad way to spend a lazy afternoon though.
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By Sierra on July 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book shows today's issues with the world. Unfair justice, racial discrimination. I couldn't put this book down. Brian has to go through many difficult choices in this book while learning new things among the way on how people are judged on how they look or act. Would recommend this to anyone.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm in 7th grade. It was a group book. I loved it. It was so good. I loved it sooo much that I finished it a week before we where supposed to! I got caught up in this book and couldn't stop reading. Elaine Marie Alphin wrote a AMAZING book!!
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