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...Overall, it is a good story about growing up, ideal for teenagers and particularly girls who are into sports....

The first question I raised was whether I could mark a book down for its font choice. The font shows as a spider-like scrawl that is very hard to read on my kindle. However the first few pages were strong enough that I pressed on, even though I had to go to Kindle for PC and change the background on my kindle to black to read it.

Zilla, short for Priscilla, is fifteen years old, six foot two and two hundred pounds, not the best way to fit in at high school. When she tries out for the soccer team, not entirely intentionally, she finds herself picked as the goalie after a display of talent. Then the Varsity goalkeeper is injured, and Zilla is drafted for the rest of the season to play in a league well above her experience. Sporting success can’t solve every issue, and she has to deal with family problems, making friends, and the possibility she might be able to build a football career while still in her high school years.

Unlike many coming of age books, this one doesn’t end when the underdog and her team triumph. It continues on through her highschool years, covering her attempts to turn her high school success into a professional career. One thing I liked about this book was that things didn’t come easily. Zilla may have talent, but as the coach bluntly states she’s unfit, unskilled, and has a terrible attitude. Once she’s past those there are other obstacles: lack of funds, limited training, insecurity, family issues and even sheer bad luck.

Priscilla herself is an engaging character, and someone a reader can root for (and I certainly did). While her first person narration might seem a little self-centered in parts, she’s a teenager and still growing out of it. Her and her brother’s reaction to the fact her parents are still in love is classic and typical for their age: “It’s nice they’re not divorced, but no pecks on the cheek in front of us, Please.” Her high school friends come across quite clearly and while her eventual boyfriend felt a little flat, this is less a fault of the writing and more because of the stars in Priscilla’s eyes when she looks at him.

The only thing that felt a little weaker to me was the ending, and I’ll allow that this might just be a very European point of view, seeing that football’s virtually a religion over here. While Zilla and her friend worked very hard to build her football career, success when it comes, comes from a direction that she’s not particularly interested in. In some ways it feels as though not much has changed: at the start of the book she planned to go to highschool and then college, and at the end of the book she’s off to college, admittedly with a bit more funding and a hobby. During the course of the book, Zilla invests so much of herself in her sports, and the reader gets drawn in and invested along with her, that it seems a shame we don’t get to share her success. That’s a hint, by the way, as a sequel might be appreciated.

Overall, it is a good story about growing up, ideal for teenagers and particularly girls who are into sports. It kept me reading and I am not the target audience. However the plot whiplash at the end knocks the rating down.

Rating: 3
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rz3300 (10 September 2016)
Well I happen to work with kids, so I am thinking that this might be something to spread around there. There are a couple who love sports too, so I can definitely work that angle. I think that the title alone is enough to probably capture the attention of a young reader, and I know it worked for me. I am adding it to the list.

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