Review of In the Swish by Dawn Green

If you’re looking for a fast-paced, action-filled read, then In the Swish, by Dawn Green is the book for you. From the first chapter right to the nail-biting ending, this book is as tense as the basketball season it represents.

Bennett Ryan is the finest player on the best high-school basketball team in the state. And I do mean the best. The Lincoln High Lady Lions not only win the championship, they do so undefeated. There is one team that’s almost as good, Lions’ arch rivals Riverside High Storm, but there’s one thing they don’t have: Bennett Ryan. That is until in Bennett’s senior year, her mother becomes Riverside’s Principal and Bennett has to transfer to the new school.

Life isn’t easy for the new girl. Her Storm teammates hate her, and she is increasingly distanced from her old friends. She struggles to find her place at on the Riverside team while figuring out how do let go of her old one. As a person who was often the new kid at school myself, I found Bennett’s sense of alienation and frustration both realistic and familiar. But she’s not one to give up her dreams, and she does everything she can to overcome the obstacles put in her way.

It takes a strong writer to keep the tension in a story high while at the same time finding moments for her characters to reflect on who they are and how they should navigate the world when it’s not working the way they want it to, and Green does this expertly. Bennett is not only a star basketball player, she is also a sister, daughter, friend and student, and readers have a chance to see all of these sides of her. Green captures the complexities of relationships between teenaged girls as they strive to reach their dreams.

Kari Jones has written five books for children and youth, and her work has been translated into several languages. She lives on the west coast of Canada with her husband and son and their dog, Tintin. Her latest book is At The Edge of the World. For more information, visit www.karijones.ca.