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January 1, 2011

The Moves Make the Man

The Moves Make the Man


Author: Bruce Brooks


Page Length: 252  


Reading Level: 8


Genre: Realistic Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: Jerome Foxworthy, an intelligent African American, spots Bix Rivers playing baseball one year prior to the composing of the story of Bix.  Bix catches his attention because Jerome has never seen anyone who has mastered the skill and art of baseball like Bix.

Jerome is the only black student attending the junior high school in his neighborhood.  Jerome’s first love is basketball and he goes to try-outs for the school team, but is not allowed to play because of his color. After Jerome’s mother is in an accident, Jerome decides to enroll in a home economics class so that he can cook for his brothers while his mother heals.  He discovers he is not the only male member of the class, Bix Rivers; the talented baseball player also belongs to the class.  The boys immediately bond and Jerome teaches Bix to play basketball in the evenings. 

As the boy’s relationship grows, Jerome learns that Bix cannot tolerate any form of lying, or “his definition” for lying. This intolerance for non-truths has caused significant repercussions in Bix’s life which Jerome tries to understand.

REVIEW: This is a well-written book that has great character development and descriptive writing.  The description of the game of basketball (p. 59), the reference of “white man’s disease” (p. 95), and Bix’s view of friendship (p.159) are examples of Brook’s excellent writing skills.  The bond of friendship between Bix and Jerome is one that young men can relate to, in that; males accept each other just as they are.  The boy’s both have family issues that are also common to the young teen-age male.  In addition, racial issues are a sub-plot that Jerome must deal with throughout the story. 

I think both boys and girls would enjoy this book because of the drama and conflict the characters encounter as they move through their first year of junior high   

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Character, Conflict, Setting, Theme and Point of View

RELATED BOOKS: Slam, Learning the Game, The Boy Who Saved Baseball, Hardball


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner


April 2, 2008



Author: Patricia McCormick

Page Length: 148

Reading Level: 6

REVIEW: As Patricia McCormick writes her first novel, she delves into the serious subject matter of behavior disorders of young adults.  The setting is Sea Pines, a private treatment center for girls with various “issues” including eating disorders, substance abuse, and other behavioral problems.   

The story is told by Callie, a 15 year old girl who ran track at her high school but is now a “guest” a Sea Pines for cutting herself.  McCormick does a great job of putting the reader inside Callie’s head as she relates her thoughts about the center and the girls in her group.  She addresses her thoughts with such vivid detail that I could actually feel Callie’s desperation.  

When I began the book, I immediately visualized the movie “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.  Like the Big Indian in the movie, Callie refuses to talk in her group sessions, in her private therapy, to her roommate, or family.  However, to the reader, she describes the strict regiment that she and the other guests are required to follow.  

Rather than male residents in “the Cuckoo’s Nest”, the “guests” are all teen-age girls at Sea Pines.  McCormick does an amazing job of describing each of the girls’ personalities and behaviors as Callie perceives them in her mind. 

Much of the book is addressed by Callie to her psychiatrist through her thoughts during their sessions.  Eventually Callie begins to talk.  First, she talks to her therapist, then in group sessions, working through the causes of her self-abusive acts of cutting.  

This is the best young adult novel I have read.  It is short but from the opening page, I was compelled to continue reading page after page.  The subject matter is sensitive but well written.  It addresses the realities of life that the teens of the 21st century must endure.  Family issues are the reason for Callie’s “cutting” and eventual placement in the residential facility. 

I would suggest the book to anyone who works with teens, is a parent to a teen or teen’s themselves.   

RELATED WEBSITES:§ion_id=113&object_id=148 

REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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