Monday, July 21, 2014

SLUMP, The 2nd Novel in the D-Bow High School Hoops Series, BY KEVIN WALTMAN


Listen up. This is D-Bow talking hoops, the game he loves. And this is how Kevin Waltman writes about hoops, the game he loves. This is why D-Bow found a home in Waltman's Young Adult fiction!
"So then there I am, out between the circles, soloed up with Major Newsome. I clap my hands in front of me. Bring it. Newsome gives a sly little grin, loving the moment. I get it. He’s just like every other baller in this city. We grow up dreaming of it—a clock ticking down, a crowd on its feet, holding its breath to see what you got. It’s why we burn through our summer, practicing with a purpose when other kids are killing time. It’s why we lift weights until our arms are jelly, run sprints until our calves catch fire. It’s why when we get our teeth kicked in by a better team, we just bear down and keep working. This."
But life is not always inside a gym with the crowd screaming. Especially for a 16-year-old sophomore in an Indianapolis inner-city school. “All a man can do is his dirty best.” That's D-Bow’s father talking. He wants his son to hear the lesson of generations of black men struggling to do good by their families and by what they know is right.

This is what we promise you. Nobody does high school basketball like Kevin Waltman. Nobody. The son of the late Indiana coaching legend, Royce Waltman, he knows his hoops, he knows the flow and erratic rhythms of a game, and he knows the baller-lingo of the kids who love the game. He wraps Derrick’s (aka “D,” aka “D-Bow) sophomore season with a good story. Waltman knows, like we all know, there is no story without trouble.

The last we read about D-Bow (Next, Cinco Puntos, 2013), his freshman year ended with a two-point loss to suburban and wealthy Hamilton High, he decided not to switch to Hamilton but to stay with his home boys. Life was going to be good. The beautiful Jasmine was his girlfriend, D-Bow is the starting point guard and, Moose, his main man on the court had chiseled down 15 pounds for his senior year. D-Bow figured Marion East might even make a run at the State Championship. But things change, things fall apart. Jasmine and Derrick, as she calls him, break up; Wes, his longtime best friend, hardly talks to him anymore because of his own girl problems; D-Bow’s father, long stressed out with overwork and worry, almost dies in a stroke-induced car accident; and the Marion East squad, after the team’s best 3-point shooter goes down, is not what D-Bow expected. Besides, Coach Bolton is still the same hard-ass. D-Bow and his boys want to run run run! But Bolton sees that's not the team he has. He preaches, "Patience, patience, patience." Reynolds, the new kid, says "Coach, that's 'white ball.'" They don't want to play "white ball." That’s not the half of it. D-Bow, like any 16 year old, is feeling his hormones. That’s when Daniella comes calling.

KEVIN WALTMAN, the son of Indiana basketball coaching legend Royce Waltman, grew up playing the game and immersed in its stories and language. No wonder his prose catches the rhythms and muscle of the game. Slump is the second—D-Bow’s sophomore year—in Waltman’s “Hoops at Marion East” series. His junior and senior years will follow in 2015 and 2016. Waltman teaches writing at the University of Alabama. He and his wife Jessica have a baby daughter Calla. 

ISBN 978-1-941026-01-4 paper / $11.95
ISBN 978-1-941026-02-1 e-book / $11.95
Distributed by Consortium Book Sales / Publishes October 2014

Slump is the second book in this four-book series, D-Bow’s High School Hoops. Expect the third book in October 2015. Here's praise for NEXT (Cinco Puntos, 2013): #1 in the D-Bows High School Hoops Series

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY—Waltman’s novel is packed with basketball jargon and action, but also impressively multifaceted, as it examines neighborhood rivalries, the tremendous pressures that come with making one's first adult decisions, and the values of both teamwork and individuality.
KIRKUS REVIEWS—Waltman’s series opener (first of a planned four) features plenty of basketball action fueled by hoops slang that will set basketball-mad readers right onto the court… The author avoids slam-dunk answers, leaving readers poised for the next book. Like Derrick, this series is off to a promising high school career.A Junior Library Guild selection.

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