Alan Lawrence Sitomer is an English teacher in an inner-city high-school in Los Angeles and a professor at Loyola Marymount University. He was selected California's Teacher of the Year for 2006 by California Literacy and received the Southland Council of Teachers of English award for classroom excellence in 2004. THE HOOPSTER, his first novel, is the first volume of a planned trilogy.
Gr 8 Up-Andre Anderson, an African-American teenager, loves to play basketball with his friends, enjoys his job at a political opinion magazine, and is becoming fond of the beautiful Latina girl he was introduced to by his best (white) friend. Set in contemporary Los Angeles, Andre's story unfolds with gritty images, clever banter, and a genuine consideration of the facets of race and racism. Author Alan Lawrence Sitomer (Jump at the Sun, 2005) draws characters that are both realistic and ironic, while narrator J.D. Jackson realizes both the main characters and every minor one with fulsome specificity-bright and thoughtful Andre, his clown cousin Cedric, his self-centered sister, his half-deaf father, the gruff magazine editor, and the bad guys, who are white supremacist gangsters. Parental lectures ring true. Andre is allowed the full range of emotions as he gets the opportunity to write a real piece for the magazine, is beaten senseless for speaking out about racism, and bounces back professionally and socially. Sitomer's inclusion of a reference to Native Americans as practicing barbaric acts is just one great discussion point to which listeners can be drawn. The crassness of teenaged boys-rude remarks, bodily noises-may surprise some who think that "good literature" doesn't present crude behavior. But this is, indeed, good literature, and stellar reading, and is bound to attract both student and teacher fans.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.