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Perpetual Check by [Wallace, Rich]
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Perpetual Check Kindle Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7–11—Brothers Zeke and Randy differ in their physical appearance, in their attitudes, and in their relationships with their dad, with girls, and, most significantly for this story, in their approaches to chess. Zeke, a senior, seems made in Dad's hypercompetitive, decidedly obnoxious image. He shows prowess in soccer and tennis as well as chess, but is a bit too full of himself. Randy, a pudgy freshman, has developed his game quickly and now beats Zeke pretty consistently. In Scranton for the Northeast Regional of the Pennsylvania High School Chess Championships, thoughtful and relatively laid-back Randy faces his big brother in the semifinals, but not before each boy works his way through several interesting matches in which the author develops both the game strategies and the personalities involved as tensions escalate during the weekend tournament. While their climactic match is not the end of the story, the siblings have begun to see one another as allies while perceiving their father in a different light. This slim book capitalizes on dualities throughout, from the optical-illusion cover illustration to the brothers' transformed relationship, as well as the family crisis to which the title may most aptly allude. Given an untenable position, does one retreat, attack, or concede? Wallace cleverly positions Randy and Zeke for a win-win conclusion in this satisfying, engaging, and deceptively simple story.—Joel Shoemaker, Southeast Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Two brothers endure a weekend chess tournament in this novel told in alternating viewpoints. Zeke, a high-school senior, has an edgier personality than his brother, Randy, a freshman who takes a relaxed, humorous, and savvy approach to life. The brothers are not helped by their jerk of a father, who spouts off clichés glorifying aggression. Both brothers’ voices describe Zeke’s gradual realization that emulating his angry and shallow father will get him nowhere, in chess or in his relationships. Eventually, the brothers meet in a match and grow closer through the experience. Wallace makes a subtle connection between the ability to see potential moves on a board and the ability to see the truth of life, and he tells his story in a series of revealing details. Wisely, he doesn’t let the story go on too long and offers a short novel that presents a fascinating study of two fully formed characters. Grades 8-11. --Todd Morning

Product Details

  • File Size: 267 KB
  • Print Length: 130 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375840583
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (February 6, 2009)
  • Publication Date: February 10, 2009
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001RS8L0A
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,302,369 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Summary: Perpetual Check by Rich Wallace is about two brothers, Zeke and Randy Mansfield, and their relationship with not just each other, but also their father.

Zeke is a high school senior, a good soccer player, and a natural chess player that started beating his father at the age of six. Zeke can beat almost anybody, except his little brother.

Randy on the other hand is a high school freshman, he's a little pudgy with a haircut paralleling a Cub Scout, he likes to make up words, and he's a chess whiz that beats his brother nine times out of ten.

But this time, tension runs high since both Zeke and Randy have qualified for a major high school regional championship. If the boys bring everything they've got and play their best, then it could quite possibly sit one against the other.

Their father is there from the beginning, putting more pressure on the boys, coaching from the sidelines and intimidating everyone until they break or try too hard. Now it's time to see who wins, who loses, and who is loyal.

Review: This wasn't the best book, but it wasn't the worst either. Knowledge of chess would have been really helpful, because it can get a little confusing when they are talking about the pieces and the moves if you don't know anything about chess.

Each chapter goes back and forth between perspectives, starting with Zeke. That can also be confusing at first, since you have to continue reading the chapter to know who is talking; but later their personalities show through enough to recognize who is "speaking."

There are some conflicts between the brothers that seem trivial, but then you remember they are brothers and it's understandable.
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Format: Hardcover
Two brothers. One championship.

Both Zeke and Randy Mansfield have made it to the Northeast Regional Pennsylvania High School Chess Championship. Zeke, the overly confident senior who succeeds in soccer, baseball, and tennis, was the top chess player in their school before Randy entered as a freshman. He's the one their father calls "Ace," and their father's obsessive coaching has turned Zeke's bravado into a weapon that he intends to wield during the tournament.

For Randy, the slightly overweight freshman who makes up words for fun, chess is something that comes naturally, and he doesn't let the fact that he's beaten his older brother nine times out of ten effect his expectations for the tournament.

As the championship progresses, and more talented players are eliminated, it becomes clear that the Mansfield brothers will be facing off against each other in the semifinals. With their father on the sidelines, more excited and competitive than both of them about this match, each brother begins to realize that perhaps their strategies toward chess - and life - aren't so different and incompatible after all.

No matter who wins, this tournament is bound to bring them closer, and offer an understanding that each of them had never thought possible.

I honestly never thought that I'd find a story about a chess match so exciting and compelling. Although one does not need to be a skilled chess player to enjoy this quick, endearing read, it would help the reader to have a basic knowledge of the pieces and workings of the game to increase their enjoyment of this tale.

Reviewed by: Allison Fraclose
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Format: Hardcover
I am not a big fan of chess, however, I am a bit in awe of anyone who can play - especially if they elevate the playing to championship level. This is the basis of the new YA book Perpetual Check, written by Rich Wallace.

I immediately liked the premise of this book. Two young boys, who happen to be brothers, share one big thing in common - they are both natural chess players. As with most brothers, there is a "popular" one and a least popular one and when they will find themselves competing against each other - we will get to discover just how far both brothers are willing to go to win.

I have to say that I thought the characters of Zeke and Randy were very interesting and, in many ways, completely opposite of one another - yet, I still felt as though they had many things in common, despite the fact that neither would agree with this comment.

As I mentioned, the characters were interesting, if not likeable all the time. However, I think this worked for the storyline - as it helped the reader discover the personality and the unknown sides of each brother - helping us make an obvious distinction between them, but also helping us to find the commonality between them.

I also liked the plotline of the competition of chess. Of course, this book lacked the high intensity of sports competitions and did not have car chases, romances or high octane fights, but the author managed to set a scene of intense rivalry, stress and competition that worked very well. I found myself compulsively turning pages wanting to read more - wanting to find out how and who would win here.

While this book may appear to be about sibling rivalry, it turns out that it is about way more than just your basic brother vs brother. There is a strong message to YA here and I really thought the whole premise worked very well together.
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