Oct 29, 2012

Review: Winning The City by Theodore Weesner

Winning the City ReduxWinning the City Redux by Theodore Weesner
Published March 1st 2013 by Astor + Blue Editions LLC (first published July 17th 2012)
Source: review copy for blog tour

Goodreads summary: It’s Detroit, 1961. Fifteen-year-old Dale Wheeler, the son of an unemployed, alcoholic autoworker, has big dreams of leading his team to the City Basketball Championship. But his dream is shattered when Dale, the co-captain and top point guard, is cut from the team to make way for the son of a big-money team sponsor. His life in a tailspin, Dale finds a helping hand in Miss Furbish, the beautiful homeroom teacher whose well-meaning kindness gradually builds into a potentially dangerous passion. And in his lowest times, Dale gets a final shot at his dream with a hardscrabble team of street-ballers that may have what it takes to win the City Championship. Winning the City Redux is now reimagined for a new generation of readers to discover. A perfect follow-on to Weesner’s classic hit The Car ThiefRedux entertains as it examines new dimensions of classism, corruption, youth angst, and dangerous passion.

My review:
Winning the City completely succeeds in capturing what's most important to me in YA novels-that coming of age moment. Finding yourself and your spot in the world. Facing and getting over issues (successfully or not). Overcoming old habits and grudges and turning another direction. I loved Dale, the main character, because he embodies everything mentioned before. Weesner implements raw emotion, true heartbreak and rendering disappointment, and provides Dale with one of the most genuine voices I have had the pleasure of reading.

I stumbled over the dialogues, though, in particular the conversations between Miss Furbish and Dale. Over the course of the novel, they lead the same conversation several times coming out of it none the wiser. It might be partly due to Dale's adolescence and confusion, but Furbish sent mixed signals from her side that I wouldn't normally expect from a middle-aged teacher. The repetitiveness made the middle sag heavily.

I liked this book, its urban feel, the exhilaration of a good game, the sincerity. The book reads like a modern classic, and if you prefer coming of age tales with a literary touch, try Winning The City.

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