From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Some of the most distinguished names in YA literature are represented in this collection of linked stories set on a celebrated New York City playground basketball court known as the Cage. Such luminaries as Walter Dean Myers, Bruce Brooks, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Robert Lipsyte examine the ways in which players, wannabes, and hangers-on interact in the vibrant, freewheeling subculture of inner-city playground hoops. All of the action takes place on one day, with recurring characters. The contributors offer different takes on them, forcing readers to consider the individuals from a variety of points of view. It is fascinating to see how these writers bring their own unique social and artistic vision to the portrayal of the individuals who weave in and out of the narratives. The stories are of uniformly high quality; one of the real crowd-pleasers is Sharon G. Flake's "Virgins Are Lucky," which stars a sassy, self-respecting girl who decides not to text the handsome star player who has so casually given her his number. Other characters who will live on in readers' memories are Adam Rapp's smart-mouthed, sensitive eighth-grader recently rescued from homelessness by a brooding Iraq War veteran and Joseph Bruchac's Native American man, stricken with respiratory problems as a result of his rescue work at the World Trade Center. Tying all the stories together is a shared love and respect not only for the game itself, but also for the lavishly talented (and all-too-often fatally flawed) legends of New York City playground basketball. An outstanding collection that belongs in every high school library.-Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Nine writers (and one photographer-poet) join forces to describe one full day at “the Cage,” a New York City pickup-court proving ground where talented unknowns fight for respect. In the afterword, editor Aronson explains that “we didn’t let an author write a new story until the previous one was done.” This kind of experimentation has disaster written all over it, but like a buzzer-beating, fadeaway jumper, this anthology squeaks out a win. The biggest names earn their starter status: Myers kicks it off with possibly the most straightforward entry, setting up an intriguing cast of characters; Rita Williams-Garcia focuses on a young filmmaker fascinated by the female baller Dominique (last seen in the author’s Jumped, 2009); and Adam Rapp hits what is probably the book’s canniest shot by fleshing out Waco, a tall, white, mysterious player who has glided through the previous chapters. Sharp-elbow action alternates with an almost spiritual grace; sure, it has its ups and downs, but that’s sports. Grades 7-10. --Daniel Kraus