Tournaments, Cocoa & One Wrong Move is young adult general fiction with a romance. This is the third book in the Real Life series, but you can read the books in any order. The story was fast-paced, and the suspense grew as things got worse and worse in Cassidy's relationships at school and with her own family. Suspense also came from wondering if she'd get well enough to play again and, if so, if they'd override the rules to let her play again. I could hardly put the book down.
The world-building was also excellent, with the details about the setting, girls high school basketball, and physical therapy bringing the story alive in my imagination. The characters were realistic as were the pressures Cassidy faced. I even cried in sympathy with what she was going through. However, I thought the ending was a bit unrealistically tidy.
I was also concerned by the "bad boy" as Cassidy's romantic match. I'm all for getting to know people that are different from you rather than scorning them based on preconceptions. However, Cassidy's father was portrayed as unreasonable when he expressed concern about her friendship with the "trouble" kids. Granted, his stated reasons were bad ones (appearances), but I'd have a talk with my child if they started hanging out with "the bad crowd." Though it works out for Cassidy in the novel, peer pressure usually works the other way around in real life.
Christians and non-Christians were portrayed realistically with both the good and the bad. Cassidy finds a book, "RL," that's like a Bible and gives her guidance about her situation. The personalized & paraphrased stories seemed to be more loosely based on the Bible verses than previously, and I sometimes felt like the wording or conclusion was changed a bit to make it fit the author's point. Also, this time I usually didn't see how the stories even related to Cassidy's situation. Granted, everything was tied together into an a-ha moment near the end, but I prefer how the RL book was handled in the previous two books.
There was a very minor amount of bad language in the "he cussed" or "Don't say it!" style. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this novel as well-written, clean reading.
I received an ARC of the book as a review copy from the publisher.
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About the reviewer
Debbie White (GenreReviewer)
I review books, do organic gardening (vegetables, fruit trees, etc.), mentor a young lady, and work with inmates at the local jail and state prison units. I live in a passive solar house (with an active … more
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Perfect? Everything seems to be going right for Cassidy Brewster---she's the star of her high school basketball team, has a near-perfect GPA, and college recruiters are showing up at her games. But during the state tournament she injures herself, and her season appears to be over. With pressures at home and at school, Cassidy turns desperate and makes choices that only increase the number of problems in her life. As Cassidy's carefully controlled world falls apart, a mysterious book begins to speak to her, and it might just contain the answers Cassidy has been trying to find.