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One Last Shot
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One Last Shot
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The beloved author of Ms. Bixby's Last Day and Posted returns with a humorous and heartwarming story of family, friendship, and miniature golf. For as long as he can remember, Malcolm has never felt...
The beloved author of Ms. Bixby's Last Day and Posted returns with a humorous and heartwarming story of family, friendship, and miniature golf. For as long as he can remember, Malcolm has never felt...
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  • The beloved author of Ms. Bixby's Last Day and Posted returns with a humorous and heartwarming story of family, friendship, and miniature golf.

    For as long as he can remember, Malcolm has never felt like he was good enough. Not for his parents, who have always seemed at odds with each other, with Malcolm caught in between. And especially not for his dad, whose competitive drive and love for sports Malcolm has never shared.

    That is, until Malcolm discovers miniature golf, the one sport he actually enjoys. Maybe it's the way in which every hole is a puzzle to be solved. Or the whimsy of the windmills and waterfalls that decorate the course. Or maybe it's the slushies at the snack bar. But whatever the reason, something about mini golf just clicks for Malcolm. And best of all, it's a sport his dad can't possibly obsess over.

    Or so Malcolm thinks.

    Soon he is signed up for lessons and entered in tournaments. And yet, even as he becomes a better golfer and finds unexpected friends at the local course, be wonders if he might not always be a disappointment. But as the final match of the year draws closer, the tension between Malcolm's parents reaches a breaking point, and it's up to him to put the puzzle of his family back together again.

About the Author-

  • John David Anderson is the author of many highly acclaimed books for kids, including the New York Times Notable Book Ms. Bixby's Last Day, Posted, Granted, Sidekicked, The Dungeoneers, and Finding Orion. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wonderful wife, two frawesome kids, and clumsy cat, Smudge, in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org.


Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    March 1, 2020
    Shy, imaginative, lonely Malcolm Greeley, 12, has absorbed the message that he's not good enough so fully that it's become a voice in his head, predicting he'll fail, blaming him after it happens. When it comes to Little League, the voice sounds suspiciously like his dad's, a former college athlete. Malcolm enjoys beating his dad playing miniature golf at Fritz's, a shabby, quirkily furnished venue, until his dad enters him in a tournament, hiring a former nationally ranked golfer to coach him. Malcolm glumly accedes--the subject of his parents' mounting arguments, Malcolm tries to avoid triggering them. Seedy and out of shape, coach Frank has hidden depths and, like Lex, the girl Malcolm meets at Fritz's, helps Malcolm see his world differently. Major characters are white; several names suggest Asian ancestry. Structured like a golf game and employing golf analogies--with plenty of context for non-golf-conversant readers--the novel cuts between the tournament Malcolm's currently playing and his journey to it. The voices he hears are not mental illness markers but opinions and beliefs he's internalized. At its best, the novel is first-rate, masterfully conveying Malcolm's anxious monitoring of rising marital conflict he's at a loss to fix. Lex is a compelling character, comfortable in her skin, and rewardingly, Frank defies expectations. Watching Malcolm free himself from his need to fix others' problems is exhilarating even if the neat ending partly undermines that message. Droll, moving, resonant. (Fiction. 9-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from May 1, 2020

    Gr 4 Up-Malcolm, a quirky kid who hears voices in his head, feels like he just keeps falling short. He's torn between his parents, who are on the brink of separation, and wrongly assumes he is the reason for their unhappiness. When Malcolm's father commandeers his son's newfound interest in miniature golf, Malcolm reluctantly agrees to sign up for a tournament. Malcolm hopes that if he can ace the tournament, his parents might reconcile. Along the way, he finds a new best friend in Lex, who helps him navigate the ache of divorced parents. And then there's Frank, a washed-up golfer turned golf coach who seems to be in it just for the lesson payments, but transforms into a confidant and role model. Malcolm soon learns that golf has a lot more to do with life than he ever thought, and that he's not responsible for fixing his family. As in his previous novels, Anderson beautifully blends tough topics and humor, perfecting the recipe for young readers. Malcolm's struggles with his love and heartbreak for his parents, and the news of the loss of a premature brother, will resonate with readers as he negotiates the new roles in his family. VERDICT Sure to be a well-loved addition to every collection, this belongs on the shelf of every library that serves middle grade readers.-Amy McInerney, Falmouth Elementary School, ME

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from April 15, 2020
    Grades 4-7 *Starred Review* To please his father, 12-year-old Malcolm tries to take an interest in competitive sports, but the only one he enjoys is miniature golf. Even there, Dad takes charge, hiring a coach and signing Malcolm up for a national tournament. Frank, the coach, may be unconventional in his approach, but you can't argue with the results of his teaching, which extend beyond putting skills to broader life lessons. He even facilitates Malcolm's friendship with Lex, a girl Malcolm meets during practice. Caught in the long-term crossfire between his parents, Malcolm has plenty of built-up tension, but the combination of Frank's offbeat coaching and Lex's enthusiasm helps him grow in both putting skills and confidence, while developing an outlook that's all his own. The author of Ms. Bixby's Last Day (2016) and Posted (2017), Anderson divides the novel into 18 chapters, one for each hole of the championship game. Malcolm narrates, musing on the hole's challenges, then looking back and telling the next segment of his absorbing story. The scenes of his parents' bickering are described with sensitivity to every nuance of speech and body language. Readers will cheer when Malcolm finally comes into his own. A well-crafted, emotionally resonant book, brightened by irrepressible wit.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 18, 2020
    Malcolm Greeley, 12, feels bad about disliking the sports that his father adores. So when he shows some flair for miniature golf and his dad jumps on it, finding Malcolm a coach and enrolling him in a league complete with tournaments, Malcolm goes along. Pleasing his father feels good, but it also causes further friction between his parents, who already fight a lot. Then there are the voices Malcolm hears: the one he’s named Aleck, who says things Malcolm would never dare utter aloud, and the one that has him believing in his worst fears and insecurities. Countering that voice is Malcolm’s warm relationship with his golf coach, Frank, as well as his new friendship with Lex, a girl he meets at the mini golf course. Chapters opening with golf tips intersperse the big tournament with the events leading up to it. Malcolm’s desire to get along with his dad without upsetting his mother is well wrought, as are his anxieties and fears, expressed through the voices he hears. Light moments, such as Frank’s cheerfully nutty stories, balance Anderson’s (Finding Orion) serious themes, as does Malcolm’s sympathetic and open narration. Ages 8–12.

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    Walden Pond Press
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