“Nikki On The Line,” by Barbara Carroll Roberts, is a fabulous story with a layered plot and relatable characters.
The story is about Nikki an eighth grade girl who loves to play basketball. In fact, Nikki is trying out for Club Ball so that she can play varsity in high school. But during the tryouts Nikki finds a big problem, everyone in the gym is taller then her!
But these players aren’t just tall, they have skill too. Adria (her friend) and Kate are tall. Kim-Ly was fast and could easily steal the ball. Taj was a good shot blocker. Maura could steal the ball. Linnae had a great jump shot, and JJ was aggressive.
During the tryouts, JJ takes Nikki off guard with a comment about her two different colored eyes. Nikki wonders if she is good enough to make the team.
But things are also heated at home. If Nikki makes the expensive team, in order to play she will have to babysit her brother, Sam, every single day. Also, she has a genetic project that she can’t do because of the fact that she doesn’t know her dad.
So now Nikki has to do another project and she chooses height inheritances. While doing the project, she realizes that she is two inches shorter than the average basketball player. She wonders if she has any choice in what she is good at or if genetics has it all planned out for her.
So when Nikki gets selected for the team, she wonders, can she play at this new level? And is basketball really worth all the sacrifices?
I really enjoyed this book. It was a book about basketball, and even though I don’t play basketball or know too much about it, I was still able to follow it. It has a great message and characters that I could relate to. It also was super innocent and there was no unnecessary drama.
This book does have some science words that I didn’t understand, but they aren’t a big part of the story so it was okay. This was a book that was easy to follow along with.
I would suggest it more to 4th grade and up because even though it is innocent, it did mention some things that most 3rd graders don’t know yet. This is a great book for basketball players because it talks a lot about basketball. But for anyone, this is a excellent story.