From School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-This formulaic story follows 12-year-old Devin, who has just left her friends and soccer team behind, moving cross country with her family. There is a lot of expected angst in the beginning of the story. Will she like her new school? Make new friends? And since California is known for producing superstar soccer players, will she even make the team? While quickly learning the ropes at her new school and instantly making friends-and perhaps even gaining a boyfriend-the plot twist is revealed: Devin's new soccer team isn't great at all-in fact, it is downright bad. Throw in a bossy/bully older teammate as cocaptain against Devin, and the rest of the blanks will be easily filled in by most readers. Despite its predictability, the novel conveys some solid messages about teamwork and assertiveness. Purchase where there is a demand for sports stories with strong female role models.-Lisa Kropp, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In the Kicks series opener, gifted seventh-grade soccer player Devin Burke is trying to adjust to California life and a new school while missing her best friend Kara and her soccer team back in Connecticut. Things improve after she joins the Kentville Kangaroos girls’ soccer team—nicknamed “The Kicks”—and befriends teammates Jessi, Emma, and Zoe. But the Kicks are disorganized; cheerful Coach Flores emphasizes fun over winning (or even improving); and there’s a talented but mean fellow player, Mirabelle. But when Mirabelle transfers to soccer powerhouse Pinewood, it’s an opportunity for Devin to get Coach and her team on board with building skills, spirit, and confidence—hopefully before the fast-approaching rematch with Pinewood. U.S. women’s soccer team player and Olympic medalist Morgan’s enthusiasm for the game is evident throughout this light and lively contemporary read. Though there are some predictable story elements, Devin is an appealing protagonist whose peppy first-person narrative incorporates abundant soccer details, along with familiar themes of making friends and the value of teamwork. Appended glossary includes game-related terms. Grades 4-7. --Shelle Rosenfeld