I succumbed to the feeding frenzy that is the American Library Association exhibit opening where publishers give away free Advanced Reader Copies like cups of water to marathon runners. I took so many books I had to leave a few in my hotel room. Of the books I kept, some of them will turn out to be duds, but In the Swish is the real deal. It's the story of a high school basketball player forced to change schools just before her senior year. She finds her self playing for the enemy...and eventually liking it.
Bennett is a believable teen with authentic relationships with her mother and sister. Bennett tragically lost her dad several years before the story begins, but her grief is still part of her. He was her biggest basketball fan, and her mom, whose fault it is that she has to move doesn't get Bennett's love for the game, nor does her sister Prynne whose main occupation seems to be figuring out who she is.
As you might imagine, Bennett's new team doesn't welcome her with open arms, even if she was last year's league MVP. Bennett's excellent play is the reason her new team lost last year's championship. The hardest new teammate to win over is Teesha, Bennett's number one nemesis. I was hoping they'd hook up romantically, but unlike Nina Revoyr's California basketball world, there are no lesbians in Bennett's league. That complaint aside, Green acknowledges race and class (the latter in a way that is troubling), and includes a major character with autism that she does (in my admitted ignorance) seems to handle with grace. Matti's autism is drawn as a difference, not a disability. Matti, who is the coach's daughter, is a brilliant basketball strategist herself.
I was taken by this book from the very beginning, with its dedication to "...my fifteen-year-old self, who looked for this book on the shelf."