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The Final Four Hardcover – March 1, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for The Final Four by Paul Volponi:

"Volponi, a multiple award-winning author, keeps the tension high from the first to last page ... The Final Four is definitely a winner." —VOYA, starred review

"A triple-overtime game keeps readers on the edge of their seats, but nerve-wracking as the action on the floor may be, the baggage that the players bring to the game is equally fraught." —BCCB, starred review

"With exciting game action ... this gritty, realistic, and riveting novel deserves the wide audience it will no doubt attract." —School Library Journal, starred review

"Volponi nails it when it counts in this dynamic story." —Booklist, starred review

"Volponi's latest combines in-the-moment action, basketball history and the points of view of four college ballplayers with very different lives ... No story or character is simple." —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Paul Volponi is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult novel Black & White. From 1992 to 1998, he taught adolescents on Rikers Island in New York City to read and write. Mr. Volponi worked at a day treatment center like Daytop teaching students and helping them prepare for the GED. Mr. Volponi lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 870L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670012645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670012640
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Excellent book and very exciting read Mr. Volponi. The story works on so many levels that anyone should feel at home in between its pages. It's not only a book for young adults, as I, an older battle scarred warrior, gained much pleasure and insight from the story.

All the excitement of watching a classic basketball tournament game is injected into this story. You'll catch yourself cheering for or against a team or player as if you've placed a bet down in Vegas. Though the primary focus is on four of the young players and their challenges on and off the basketball court, it's the inspiring people who've touched their lives that make this story go. If it were a movie the Oscar for supporting actor would be split between the two head coaches.

The pace of the story is not unlike a basketball game full of intense drama; up tempo fast breaks, slowed down game planning, exciting offense, pressuring defense and a heart pounding climax. Very creative idea using the historic Trojans vs Spartans battle as a theme for the competitors and their showdown. While one team must win and the other has their tournament bubble burst, the life lessons learned from a team experience is worth more than any trophy. Who, besides those playing the game, knew that basketball is a game of communication? Author Paul Volponi does!

I suppose the release date of this book was meant to coincide with the college March Madness schedule. It sure works for me as I will be tuned in to hopefully see yet another Cinderella team make a run at the championship.

5+ Stars

"I've failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed." Michael Jordan
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Live Radio Broadcast of the Game.
There are three broadcasters, a play by play man, a color commentator, and sideline reporter", Laura also known as Book Snob.

Note: The book review of Final Four will be written in a similar format to parts of the book.

Color Commentator: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is it, the final four, the big game between Michigan State Spartans and underdog, Troy University Trojans. Who will win remains to be seen, but both sides are anxious to move up to the championship game. "The last time the Spartans and the Trojans met for stakes this high was in the Trojan War of Greek Mythology, when the Spartans left a huge horse outside the gates of Troy." pg. 6. I wonder, will the Trojans rewrite history here tonight?

Side line reporter: There are 4 main players being represented in tonight's game, I mean book.

Malcolm is the leading scorer for the Spartans as a freshman and is ready to make his move into the NBA. He is a little cocky and self-serving but maybe he has earned it. He recently lost his sister in a drive-by shooting and you can see her image tattooed on his arm.

Michael Jordan also plays for the Spartans and you guessed it, was named after the famed NBA star Michael Jordan. Michael is a junior benchwarmer thrown into the game. He is roommates with Malcolm and lives under the shadow of his name.

Roko Bacic AKA Red Bull is a junior playing for Troy. He is a native Croatian who has lived in the states since his senior year of high school. His uncle taught him to play basketball on the streets of Croatia and now he is living his dream, playing college basketball. His parents are very proud of him. His uncle was killed by the Croatian mob.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THE FINAL FOUR IS A SLAM DUNK! You don't have to know anything about basketball to get hooked.

For those who follow me on Twitter and Goodreads, it's no secret that I am a huge fan of Paul Volponi's. I became intrigued by his work when RESPONSE received the Milwaukee County Teen Book Award Honor in 2010. After that, I devoured his novels and dubbed Paul the King of Urban YA Fiction.

THE FINAL FOUR is one of Paul's finest novels. Volponi writes about March Madness, the time when the best college basketball teams play for the NCAA Championship. It's huge money, huge exposer, huge pressure. Volponi tells the story of two teams battling in the Final Four through the eyes of four players. Interspersed are newspaper and TV interviews, commentary. One of the characters is Michael Jordan-imagine what it must be like to love basketball, be named after one of the best players to ever play in the NBA, and always having to deal with being compared to your namesake: THE Michael Jordan. Another character is Malcolm McBride, a young man who'a nickname is "One and Done" because he's only playing one year of college ball until he's eligible to enter the NBA draft. Malcolm's outlook on life has definitely been shaped by poverty and the horrible experiences that have plagued his life. Crispin Rice is a character I really enjoyed, a leader for sure. But his life isn't as storybook as the media makes it out to be. My favorite character is Roco Bacic who survived some horrific experiences in Croatia to come to the US and fulfill his dream of playing basketball. Some of his story is told through a personal journal that captures unforgettable moments of terror.
The reader becomes immersed in the players' lives on and off the basketball court.
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