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Fast Break
Cover of Fast Break
Fast Break
From the #1 bestselling author of Heat, Travel Team and Million-Dollar Throw comes a feel-good basketball tale reminiscent of The Blind Side. Forced to live on his own...
From the #1 bestselling author of Heat, Travel Team and Million-Dollar Throw comes a feel-good basketball tale reminiscent of The Blind Side. Forced to live on his own...
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  • From the #1 bestselling author of HeatTravel Team and Million-Dollar Throw comes a feel-good basketball tale reminiscent of The Blind Side.

    Forced to live on his own after his mom dies and her boyfriend abandons him, 12-year-old Jayson does whatever it takes to get by. He will do anything to avoid the foster care system. Besides, his real home has always been the beat-up basketball court behind the projects in the North Carolina hills, and his family has always been his friends and teammates. He manages to get away with his deception until the day he gets caught stealing a new pair of basketball sneakers. Game over. Within a day a social worker places him with a family from the other side of town, the Lawtons. New home, new school, new teammates.

    Jayson, at first, is combatative, testing the Lawtons' patience at every turn. He wants out, yet the Lawtons refuse to take the bait. But not everyone in Jayson's new life is so ready to trust him—and even Jayson's old friends give him a hard time now that he's attending a school full of rich kids. It's on Jayson to believe that he deserves a better life than the one he once had. The ultimate prize if he can? A trip to play in the state finals at Cameron Indoor Stadium–home to the Duke Blue Devils and launching pad to his dream of playing bigtime college ball. Getting there will be a journey that reaches far beyond the basketball court.

    In the tradition of uplifting stories like The Blind Side, Fast Break has all the family-friendly sports action Mike Lupica has become known and loved for.

    Praise for Fast Break

    "Eager fans will find this a slam-dunk. A must-purchase."–Booklist

    "Lupica's announcer-like delivery will have you breathless, on the edge of your seat, cheering."–Florida Times-Union

    "Fast Break is the perfect middle-grade read for fans of basketball. With so much attention to detail in each game, readers are practically with the characters on the court. Lupica has done it again."–VOYA 


     

Excerpts-

  • From the cover One

    His name was Jayson Barnes. But to his friends at school and on the court, he was known as Snap. His friend Tyrese Rice had given him the nickname one time, and it stuck.

    "You're like the basketball version of that Snapchat," Ty had said. "One of those pictures you take with your phone and then it's there, but only for a few seconds. Then it's gone." He snapped his fingers. "Gone."

    Jayson was all right with that. Sometimes he wanted to make himself disappear for real, from this part of Moreland, North Carolina, growing up this poor. Growing up mad. The guys he balled with at the Jefferson Houses, or the Jeff, as they called it, were always telling him how mad he played, the edge he had to him, the way he'd get into it with somebody on the other team the first time they gave him a shove or tried to get away with something.

    It wasn't like he didn't have his reasons.

    The Jefferson Houses were part of public housing on the east side of Moreland. There had been just one building at first, between the train tracks and the river, but now there were four: Jefferson, Washington, Adams, Lincoln—yet they were still known as the Jeff. And everybody on both sides of Moreland knew that the court there was where some of the best ball in town was played.

    Jayson and his mom had lived at the Jeff until the landlord kicked them out for not paying the rent. They'd had no choice but to move to the Pines, a building even more run-down than the Jeff, practically right on top of the railroad tracks. When the trains would come barreling past, the walls of Jayson's apartment would shake so bad it felt like an earthquake. He was just waiting for the day the entire building would collapse. That's why he kept his basketball trophies in a drawer in his bedroom; he was sure that if he put them on top of his wobbly desk, they would fall and shatter one of these days.

    Jayson had been embarrassed to move to the Pines at the time. Now he just wanted things back the way they were there.

    These days, Jayson spent as much time as possible on the court at the Jeff. Most of the kids there were black, so Jayson would have stood out anyway, with his pale skin, long hair, and the old floppy socks that bunched up at the top of sneakers he'd grown out of from last year to this. But that wasn't the real reason he stood out. It was the style and flash—and snap—he played with, the tricks he could do with the ball, and his all-around fakery.

    Ty once told Jayson that he played blacker than any kid in the game, and faster.

    "You ever notice," Ty had been saying on the court just this afternoon, "how no one can ever stay in front of you? Like guarding something already happened."

    "Got to be fast to stay ahead," Jayson said, looking at the high-rise buildings around them, the view always the same, wondering, like he did, if he'd have to wait until he finished high school to make his greatest move—getting out of the projects.

    "Ahead of what?"

    "You know what I mean. Ahead of everyone. Everything."

    Ty had nodded like he understood, but he didn't, because even he didn't know Jayson's secret. Jayson loved Tyrese like a brother, but couldn't trust him, because even at twelve Jayson had decided that the only person he could really trust was himself.

    So he did what he always did when he felt himself wanting to drop his guard a little, and turned the talk to basketball. Just the night before, the Wizards had beaten LeBron and the Cavs, John Wall and Bradley Beal combining for 65 points. There had been long stretches in the game when you thought neither one of them would ever miss...

About the Author-

  • Mike Lupica (mikelupicabooks.com) is the #1 bestselling author of many popular books for young readers, including Fantasy LeagueQB 1HeatTravel TeamMillion-Dollar Throw, and The Underdogs. He has carved out a niche as the sporting world’s finest storyteller. Mike lives in Connecticut with his wife and their four children. When not writing novels, Mike Lupica writes for New York's Daily News and appears weekly on ESPN's The Sports Reporters.

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