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Winning the City Redux

Winning the City Redux - Theodore Weesner WINNING THE CITY by Theodore Weesner originally came out in 1991, a year marked by a number of events – my fourth birthday, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the start of the Gulf War. Although I wasn’t reading young adult fiction back then (although I had started attempting to unsuccessfully read Stephen King – I was precocious, don’t fault me for it). Taking place in 1960s Detroit, WINNING THE CITY is a story of teenage drama, the drive to succeed, and basketball.I came to this novel with my love of sports as the main reason. We meet Dale, a young kid driven to play basketball at a competitive level, who finds out that he hasn’t made the team. Trust me, I’ve been there and I know how this feels. His reactions seem so genuine and realistic and I couldn’t help but sympathize with him before rooting for his redemption as a player. His relationship with his teacher was full of rich characterization that had me gripped. Even if the story is a little squicky at times. I won’t go into detail here. If you are a fan of character exploration and development, then I think you’ll find yourself becoming a fan of this one. Just don’t go into it expecting another teenage romance story. You won’t find it here, and that’s probably a good thing.An issue I had with this one was the style of narration. I am NOT a fan of third person present tense, and this book sadly did not change my opinion. Being kept at an arm’s distance by a problematic style of narration is never something I like or advocate. First person present works, and third person past, but third person present? No thank you. The dialogue was also iffy at times, making me reread passages, roll my eyes, and lament the believability of some exchanges. But that’s easily looked past.I quite liked this one, but I can only recommend it with some reservations. If you don’t like squicky weirdness, it’s not for you. If you are looking for something focused on typical YA tropes, it is not for you. But if you are looking for a rich, engrossing YA drama about coming of age and self-discovery, then you should pick this one up when WINNING THE CITY REDUX hits stores next year.VERDICT: If you are a fan of sports and YA, and able to overlook some shoddy narration, WINNING THE CITY REDUX is going to be a book you will want to check out when it his shelves in March 2013.