Front Pivot by Chris Boucher


Front Pivot by Chris Boucher
Publisher: Wings ePress
Genre: Young Adult (14 – 18 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Noel’s brash front masks a secret past. No one knows how hard he works on his game or how far he and his brother will go to find their answers.

A high school legend, Pax forgoes college ball after becoming obsessed with their father’s Afghanistan War experience. Officially, he died a hero. But the journal he left behind suggests it’s more complicated.

Pax blames their dad for not finishing the job and decides it’s his responsibility. Noel isn’t so sure about either. And, if everyone in his family has to be a hero, how will he measure up?

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Who should decide whether or not someone is a hero?

One of my favorite subplots involved a journal Noel’s father wrote when he was a soldier in Afghanistan. The entries gave Noel and his brother a peek into parts of their father’s life that they would have otherwise known about. I enjoyed seeing how they reacted to the stories their dad told about what it was like to be a soldier overseas and how he felt about his mission. The more they learned about him, the more curious I became about what they’d discover next.

It would have been helpful to have more character development. While I liked Noel and the people closest to him quite a bit, I never felt like I got the opportunity to see them grow and change in the ways they could have despite all of the dramatic shifts happening in their lives in many cases. This was something I mentioned about the first book in this series as well. It’s my hope that any future sequels will dive into this part of the storytelling much more deeply as the storylines themselves were well done and memorable.

The plot twists were well written and exciting. This was especially true as the ending grew closer and the stakes were higher. I had a good time taking note of what had happened so far and trying to guess what might occur next. There were a few times when I was completely surprised by what the author had in store for his characters. It’s always neat to read something that keeps the audience on our toes like that!

This is the sequel to Pivot Move. I’d recommend reading this series in order to get the most out of it.

Front Pivot was a thought-provoking read for anyone who likes tales about basketball or uncovering old family secrets.

Pivot Move by Chris Boucher


Pivot Move by Chris Boucher
Publisher: Wings ePress
Genre: Young Adult (14 – 18 y.o.), Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

At 14, Boyd’s life goes the way of his hair–down the drain. His dad leaves and his curly brown mop follows. Now he longs to be free, too.

Things seem to improve when he starts ballin’ with the Blazers. He works hard to win over his new coach and teammates–too hard–and his misguided attempts alienate more than they impress.

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As Freidrich Nietzsche says, “no one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.” Remember these words as you read this review and book.

Boyd genuinely felt like a young teenager to me. His mind and body were changing rapidly in ways he couldn’t always predict, much less understand. This was especially true when it came to his reaction to the alopecia he’d developed fairly recently. Sometimes I shook my head at the impulsive decisions he made, but they were all common things not only for his age group but for his personality in general as it had been explained to me.

I would have liked to see more attention paid to the character development in this novel. As interesting as the characters were, it would have been nice to get to know them better and see them evolve as a result of the things that happened to them. This was especially true when it came to Boyd’s mother who was a pretty critical and discouraging parent. She put down her son’s interests so often that I wished the narrator had dug into this part of her personality much more thoroughly. There was a lot of space here to explore why she behaved this way and how she thought it was going to improve an already tough situation.

The basketball scenes were explained well. This wasn’t a sport I know much about, so it was helpful to go into as much detail about the various drills and moves the players were expected to learn as it did. I also appreciated the passages that described how and why the relationships between team mates can change in an instant depending on what happens during practice or games.

Basketball fans and anyone who has or is curious about alopecia, take note of Pivot Move. It has interesting things to say about both of these topics.