Summary: Select by Christie Matheson
In Select by Christie Matheson, Alex loves soccer and playing for her city’s Rec League. Her coach is nice, and she has many good friends on the team. But during one of the games, a coach from an elite league spots Alex and convinces her mom to let Alex play for his team. Her dad isn’t the picture, and their family finances are tight, so Alex wants a soccer scholarship shot for college in the future and accepts the offer. But when she starts playing for the team, she notices disturbing things like her coach verbally abusing the players, talking down to the girls because of their gender, and punishingly working them out when don’t perform to his standards. Her mom is too busy trying to please her boyfriend to notice. Can Alex and the team stand up to Coach Austin?
I read this one on my Kindle in one breathless sitting! It’s not a never-before-heard story, but it is well done. Alex is such a likable character with the odds stacked against her in many ways. Her mother is struggling to make ends meet but is also heavily distracted by her boyfriend. So much so that Alex’s little sister Belle’s care falls to Alex. She has to feed her, take her to practice with her, and rush to get home on time to be with her.
Soccer is one of the few sports I actually understand, so I tend to enjoy soccer books a fair amount and I loved watching Alex and her team battle it out on the pitch. The girls have great sportsmanship and are mostly friendly toward each other. One girl is aloof because her parents sponsor a lot of the games, and she feels she must always be center stage. The author shines a light on class privilege as Alex’s teammates are all financially better off than she is, and some parents treat her as less than for it.
At the heart of this story is her coach and his misogynistic behavior. He looks down on female soccer players (his team included) and female coaches and punishes the girls with grueling training sessions when he feels they haven’t played well enough (even after they win a game). The girls have to show a tremendous amount of courage to preserve their love for soccer despite working with him.
Overall: Select by Christie Matheson
Select by Christie Matheson is a sporty, enjoyable, and inspiring middle grade book about sports spirit and standing up for oneself. Written by an author who has coached soccer teams herself, this book’s sports storytelling sparkles with authenticity while reflecting on tough topics like unprofessional coaches, neglectful parents, and cultivating self-worth. It’s a story worth reading, and I know readers will root for Alex all the way.
Buy This Book
More Book Reviews
- Bea Is for Blended by Lindsey Stoddard
- Ten Thousand Tries by Amy Makechnie
- Braced by Alyson Gerber
What do you think? Leave a comment