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Last Shot: Mystery at the Final Four (The Sports Beat, 1) by [Feinstein, John]
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Last Shot: Mystery at the Final Four (The Sports Beat, 1) Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in The Sports Beat (6 Book Series)
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-10 - This action-packed mystery is set at the NCAA Final Four men's basketball tournament. Eighth-graders Steven Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson are aspiring journalists and winners of the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association 14-and-under writing contest. Their prize is a trip, with press credentials and reporting responsibilities, to the Final Four in New Orleans. While exploring the Superdome, they overhear a blackmail threat leveled at Minnesota State University's star player. Threatened with a falsified transcript that would disqualify him and his team, Chip Graber is pressured to deliberately lose the final game against Duke. Stevie and Susan Carol become resourceful sleuths determined to save Chip and to expose the scandal. Throughout the story, famous basketball personalities make memorable guest appearances, including spirited sports analyst Tony Kornheiser and irrepressible commentator Dick Vitale. References to real players and coaches mingle, almost eerily, with the fictitious characters. Feinstein shares his extensive sports expertise, smoothly weaving into the tale a wealth of background information about NCAA regulations, tournament traditions, recruitment and eligibility issues, and gambling. Although the action on the court is vividly described, this story also breaks new ground for teens, focusing primarily on the influential role of media in promoting college basketball. Readers will enjoy the rivalry and chemistry between outspoken but insecure Stevie and savvy-beyond-her-years Susan Carol, and their spunky determination to get the scoop. Mystery fans will find enough suspense in this fast-paced narrative to keep them hooked. - Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-9. Best-selling sportswriter Feinstein joins the parade of adult authors testing the waters of children's publishing. Unlike so many show-biz celebrities turned writers, he brings plenty of craftsmanship and a kid-friendly story to the table. The setting is college basketball's Final Four, and the stars are the two teenage winners of a writing contest, Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson, whose prize is a free trip to the tournament and an opportunity to cover the games. Friction between the pair quickly turns to camaraderie when they overhear one of the players from fictional Minnesota State being coerced into throwing the title game. Feinstein makes good use of his insider's knowledge of the Final Four as the intrepid junior reporters set out to expose the scandal, ultimately weaseling themselves into the bad guys' lair in classic Hardy Boys' fashion. The premise holds together, if a bit shakily, and Feinstein keeps the action moving throughout. The draw, though, is the vivid background, complete with cameos by real-life media personalities and big-name coaches. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 4028 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0553494600
  • Publisher: Yearling (December 24, 2008)
  • Publication Date: December 24, 2008
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SEIKZU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,856 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I have listened to John Feinstein on NPR's Morning Edition for years. When a young basketball enthusiast said this was one of the best books he had ever read I was intrigued.

Steven Thomas wins a writing contest sponsored by the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association. His prize is a basketball fan's dream: tickets and press privledges to the NCAA's Final Four at the Superdome in New Orleans. When Steven arrives in New Orleans he meets the other contest winner, another 8th grader named Susan Carol Anderson. She is very tall, very poised and a devout Duke fan.

The two of them are reporting for their hometown papers and take their job as writers very seriously. They attend press conferences and look for stories while enjoying the excitement of the pre-game activities. On their way to an interview they overhear a plot to blackmail the star of the Minnesota State team. Gamblers want star Chip Graber to lose the final game for his team.

Steven and Susan Carol are determined to help Chip and investigate who is behind the threats. The mystery is convincing because of all the detail and background Feinstein includes. Well known personalities from the sports world make appearances in the story. Dick Vitale talks to the kids and "waves his arms." Susan Carol get an interview with Coach K from Duke. Sportswriter/commentator, Tony Kornheiser also has a cameo.

There are in-the-know references to to the real world of college basketball. Steven is bemused by the NCAA references to the players as "student athletes" as the low graduation rates of basketball players at some schools are well known.

As a librarian I appreciated the fact that Steven and Susan Carol won this contest based on their research and writing skills.
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Format: Hardcover
I love everything I've read by Mr Feinstein. While this is not in the class of "Season..." or "Good Walk...", it wasn't meant to be. It's a good book for a young adult audience that may not be interested in reading. If you have a son or daughter that likes sports but does not like to read this well written mystery about the Final Four may catch their interest.
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Format: Hardcover
As an adult drawn to this book by Fienstein's 'non-fiction' name, I was incredibly surprised how much of a page-turner this was. Mr. Feinstein has performed the difficult task of creating two highly likeable and lifelike characters, while at the same time building a suspenful plot that contains numerous twists and turns the average reader won't be able to predict.

Anyone with teens and pre-teens should be buying this great book as a favor to their young readers.

And by the way, adults will enjoy it too! I certainly did.
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A Kid's Review on February 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
When Stevie, a thirteen-year-old from Pennsylvania, wins a writing contest and gets to go to the Final Four, he discovers that a player is being blackmailed and must help him before it's too late. Once Stevie and Susan Carol, the other contest winner, find out that Chip Graber, the star player from MSU, is being blackmailed, they decide they have to help. Chip and the kids go to the house of Dean Wojenski, the only person they think can help them. There, they are informed that a lawyer named Jurgensen is probably behind the plot. Later, when they try to meet with Mr. Jurgensen, they are shocked to find that everyone helping them, including Dean Wojenski, is behind the blackmailing. The kids are held hostage so Chip will throw the final game, but they are rescued when Mr. Jurgensen arrives. When Chip sees they're okay, he tries hard and his team ends up winning. Afterwards, all of the people involved in the crime were arrested by the F.B.I. Last Shot is a thrilling mystery that any reader would enjoy.

The characters in this story are very unique. Stevie has a great passion for sports writing and is elated when he wins a writing contest and gets to go to the Final Four. Although he is young, he plucks up enough courage to help when he finds out a player is being blackmailed. Susan Carol shares Stevie's love for writing and also helps solve the case. She seems to always have a solution for everything and is able to talk herself out of the toughest situations. Chip Graber is the star player at MSU and is the player that is being blackmailed. At first he is desperate and almost gives up, but with the little hope that Stevie and Susan Carol give him he does everything he can to get to the bottom of the blackmailing.

This story is very suspenseful.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Have always been buying Mike Lupica books for my 13 year old sports fan and he loves them. Finally we ran out of books to buy and looked for a different author. We found the John Feinstein books, read the information, and gave it a try. He loves this book as much as Lupica. Liked them so much we ordered two more of the mystery books for Easter presents.
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A Kid's Review on October 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you like basketball and mysteries, then Last Shot by John Feinstein is the book for you. It is awesome book for ages 10 and up. This is about the Final Four in New Orleans. Stevie and Susan are in 8th grade. Stevie is short for his age he has never been to a basketball game before and is real excited. Susan is tall and pretty Stevie doesn't like her much because she likes Duke the Basketball team and she is much taller than him and also she is very good looking. They both win a writing contest permitting them to go to the Final Four in New Orleans. Since they win the contest, they get special journalist passes to sit in on all the meetings, practices and great seats to the games. They are each having a great time until they over hear a disturbing conversation. One of the star athletes Chip Graber is being blackmailed and if he doesn't throw the championship game then his career may be in jeopardy. But when Susan and Stevie team up with Chip to find out who is involved and to prove he is innocent, they get stuck in the middle of it. If Chip doesn't throw the game then it maybe Susan and Stevie's life that may be at stake.

I thought this was the best realistic fiction book that I have read in a long time. The first couple of chapters were boring, but after that I just couldn't stop reading it. This book is a real page-turner.
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