Review: The Final Four by Paul Volponi

the final four by paul volponi

Four players with one thing in common: the will to win

Malcolm wants to get to the NBA ASAP. Roko wants to be the pride of his native Croatia. Crispin wants the girl of his dreams. M.J. just wants a chance.

March Madness is in full swing, and there are only four teams left in the NCAA basketball championship. The heavily favored Michigan Spartans and the underdog Troy Trojans meet in the first game in the semifinals, and it’s there that the fates of Malcolm, Roko, Crispin, and M.J. intertwine. As the last moments tick down on the game clock, you’ll learn how each player went from being a kid who loved to shoot hoops to a powerful force in one of the most important games of the year. Which team will leave the Superdome victorious? In the end it will come down to which players have the most skill, the most drive, and the most heart.

Description taken from Goodreads.

THE FINAL FOUR was a lot of fun, in a way that I didn’t expect. I picked up this book because I loved CROSSOVER by Kwame Alexander and SWAGGER by Paul Dertler and wanted another story along those lines. THE FINAL FOUR wasn’t like those books, but it was still great.

It all comes down to the final four, and this story is told in four different point of views from four very different characters. I can’t say I enjoyed every single part of this story, but it told these stories very well. I thought that each individual character was shown in a way that displayed their differences and how they got to the point that they were at. The story is broken up to the point where it’s almost hard to keep up with sometimes, but I still found myself enjoying it a lot. There are very few bad influences to this story even though it talks about college players, and it’s really about four kids trying to leave their past behind and shoot (intended) for a better future.

At times, this story is heartbreaking, and at times it’s heartwarming. There’s some decent trash talk in it and the elements of a fast-paced ball game are in it as well. I can’t say I’m entirely happy with how things ended, but the characters each grew a lot (especially Malcolm) as they really find out what they’re fighting for.

I think that kids who grew up on basketball books will really enjoy this story, and help them to come into the world of YA books. It’s fast paced enough to keep a reader occupied, and not hard to understand even for someone who’s not an avid basketball fan. Not my favorite story, but still very entertaining and a fun read that I would recommend. 3.5 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 256


Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow

Over the course of the last five years, Tim Tebow established himself as one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of college football and a top prospect in the NFL. During that time he amassed an unparalleled resume—winning two BCS national championships, becoming the first sophomore in NCAA history to win the Heisman trophy, and in the face of massive public scrutiny, being drafted in the first round of the NFL draft by the Denver Broncos.

Now, in Through My Eyes, Tebow brings readers everywhere an inspirational memoir about life as he chose to live it, revealing how his faith and family values, combined with his relentless will to succeed, have molded him into the person that he is today. As the son of Christian missionaries, Tebow has a unique story to tell—from the circumstances of his birth, to his home-schooled roots, to his record-setting collegiate football career with the Florida Gators and everything else that took place in between.

At every step, Tebow’s life has defied convention and expectation. While aspects of his life have been well-documented, the stories have always been filtered through the opinions and words of others. Through My Eyes is his passionate, firsthand, never-before-told account of how it all really happened.

I’m one of those people that has a lot of the basic knowledge on football down, but I’m also one of those people who sits in front of the TV on Super Bowl day at my friend’s house more focused on the hot wings and the commercials than the game.

Don’t get me wrong, I was cheering and happy just along with everyone else when the Ravens beat the 49ers at the XLVII Super Bowl 2013, but I’m not a huge fan or anything. (Looking forward to the World Cup now…) Almost all the rudimentary smarts I have on football came from my ‘football phase’, and that football phase came from this book and The Blind Side.

This book was awesome. It taught me a lot and was a lot of fun in the process, while making me come to admire Tim Tebow. I believe that for football fans, the numerous chapters in this book recounting football memories will be fun and exciting.

I think this book is heartwarming, beautifully written and really displays Tim Tebow’s faith in God. This story really inspired me and I think that Tim Tebow’s story of faith is really amazing. I loved how he shared so much about his times on missions as a kid. There are plenty of kids at my church that started going since they were small…

The passion that he displays for his sport is remarkable and inspiring. I really loved this book and I hope that others will give it a try, even those who are not Gators or Jets fans. 0‿0 4.5 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 272