> Liam, a sophomore and junior varsity basketball player at Horizon High, gets the call he has been working toward for as long as he can remember. The varsity basketball team needs him because of injuries. If he plays hard and contributes, he has a chance to stay and contribute. He does just that, until he starts to feel unsettled by Coach Kloss’s prayers before each game. Liam feels as though he must go along to get along, even if he doesn’t believe in what he’s saying. Prayer is personal, or so Liam thinks. When Liam puts the focus on this pre-game ritual, things get very personal. Relationships change, his way of thinking is turned upside down. His mom thinks he should confront the coach because a separation between church and state exists. His dad thinks he should ignore it. Liam has a decision to make. Should he just go along to get along, or should he stand up for his principles. It’s not that easy. All he ever wanted to do was play varsity ball. He didn’t ask for the other issues. But he has to decide whether he will confront them our stay quiet.
Liam’s internal conflict is like so many that we face as young adults and adults. When we see something that doesn’t seem right, we either ignore it or face it. Do we speak up and face being austricized, or do we stay quiet and go along?
John Coy, the author of Crackback, has written another book that will be devoured by many teen boys. Coy blends basketball terminology with realistic dialogue that presents Liam as a fairly dynamic character. He’s not holier-than-thou. He struggles with understanding girls. He jumps to conclusions. He’s different in that he starts to question his thinking and the way things are. If you are interested in a well-developed, realistic sports drama presenting a variety of recognizable characters, you’ll enjoy Box Out.