Sophomore Liam Bergstrom just joined the varsity basketball team. His teammates made varsity because they're good. Liam's here because he's tall and Coach needs a guy who can grab rebounds. It's the chance Liam's been waiting for, but already he's playing catch-up. The other guys know what Coach expects, and they're willing to do things Coach's way, no matter what. So when Liam questions the team's practice of praying together before games, he's suddenly the odd man out. Now Liam has to find the guts to stand up for what he believes in--and take his game to a whole new level. PRAISE FOR BOX OUT: The author of Crackback (2005) crafts an equally perceptive, triumphant tale--this one centered on a high school hoops player searching for, and finding, his own road. . . . plenty of breathlessly compelling game action, too. --Booklist, starred review The message that one must choose one's own road is certainly worthy, and the combination of basketball action, Liam's thoughtful responses to off-court issues, and the involvement--and final game--between the boys and girls will appeal to many hoops fans. -- School Library Journal Simple, present-tense prose, lively basketball action and the moral tenor of the novel make this a solid choice for sports fans. -- Kirkus Reviews
John Coy is an award-winning author, who worked as a dishwasher, mattress maker, and tour guide before taking up writing. He's active in sports and is a member of the NBA Reading All-Star Team as part of the Read to Achieve program. John has traveled to all fifty states as well as to many countries internationally. His work includes Strong to the Hoop, an American Library Association Notable Book, Night Driving, a Marion Vannett Ridgway Memorial Award winner and a Horn Book Fanfare title, Two Old Potatoes and Me, a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book, a Nickelodeon Jr.s Best Books of the Year, and a featured book on PBS Reading Rainbow, and Vroomaloom Zoom, a book of excellence on the Childrens Literature Choice List. His newest picture book Around the World is about international basketball. Johns latest title is Crackback, a young adult novel that reveals the high stakes world of high school football as a young player finds himself in a difficult situation. John's experience as a defensive back on his high school football team brings an authentic voice to which readers will be able to relate. "As a boy I loved playing football in the back yard and later in organized games," says John. "Football was the one place where smashing into people was not only okay, it was rewarded." The idea for the novel came when he wrote Strong to the Hoop. "My editor for Strong to the Hoop said that the language and action convinced her that I had a novel in me and that she would like to see it when I wrote it," John states. "When I was ready to write it, the topic that grabbed me was high school football." John also wanted to convey his belief that it is impossible to overestimate the degree of identification some teenagers have with sports. "I was such a teenager, and my choices for reading such books were much more limited than the options available today." John Coy writes and plays sports in Minnesota and wherever else he can join a game.