The Hoopster by Alan Lawrence Sitomer
IQ "Andre simply understood that there was just no such thing as revenge. The past was over and the future was his-and his alone-to create."
The Hoopster is about Andre Anderson, a black teenager who loves to write and ball (hence the name The Hoopster). He finally gets a chance to write. He is assinged to write an article about race relations. The article incites lots of passion and dialogue as well as the anger of racists. A violent attack by racists causes Andre to fall into a depression and silence. He refuses to talk. His famly and friends don't think he'll ever be the same, Andre and his friends want revenge. For a better and more complete summary go here
I really enjoyed this book. It was at certain points funny, sad, and deep. I loved all the characters. My favorite character is Cedric, Andre's cousin. His scene at the water fountain is so funny. "Cedric bellowed at the top of his lungs, stomping his foot like a modern-day Martin Luther King Jr. 'You cannot oppress us any longer! Our people will rise and drink from the water fountains again.'" Cedric is Black, when he says 'our people' he means white and black, because his white friend is always being denied water from the fountain. There's no racisim involved, the fountain simply doesn't work. Cedric is a ham.
I read this book 2 years ago and I'd forgotten how short it was. I think it could have been a little longer, the story seemed to go by really fast (sometimes good, sometimes not). I didn't really get a chance to savor the characters. However, you do see significant character growth, not in all the main characters (like Gwen) but in Andre, Cedric, Shawn.
The Hoopster is an enjoyable read. It's hard to put down. I laughed at a lot of the scenes because they showed guys just being guys, acting silly. The book also shows that racisim does still exist (although that's been pretty clear lately) it's just more subtle. The most powerful lesson from this book is on revenge, which is important because everyone at some point in their life seeks revenge. Revenge isn't the answer.
My guy friends who read this book (one of them recommended it to me) all loved this book. I would highly recommend it as well to all guys, but I think girls will enjoy (and learn from) it as well. Very little profanity, but some references to sex and drugs. 8th grade and up
There's a sequel (kind of) about Andre's sister in Hip-Hop School. I'm going to start reading it soon.