The Pan Am-Para Pan Am Games are going in Toronto, and Canada is totally kicking ass. What better time to review a sports book? (That, and Striker is apparently my 9 year old’s “most favourite book ever,” so she cornered me…) And it is a fun, fast read for anyone who enjoys a feel good story.
Cody is 13, and recovering from cancer surgery on his leg. His passion is soccer, and sitting out a season while he dealt with chemo and surgery were probably harder for him than the actual illness. But now he is on the road to recovery, and he badly wants to try out for a local rep team. His over-protective mother might be harder to convince than the cancer was to beat!
He makes the Lions as a “Super Sub,” the nickname the eleven substitute players give themselves after they realize that they will be watching the season, and not playing at all. Cody does not want to tell anyone about his cancer, and is self-conscious about his weakened leg and lack of hair, all made worse by the bullying from a few teammates.
After a mid-season shake-up, the Super Subs find themselves the only players on the team, and their good humour and willingness to play helps form them into a great team. Cody learns to trust his new friends, and his leg.
Striker is a good middle-grade novel about bullying, life after illness, friendship, and soccer. The story looks at bullying between kids AND between adults, as well as the effects of childhood cancer on a whole family. It is a fun read for anyone who likes the sport.
Striker is published by James Lorimer & Company.