Out of Bounds
Written by Fred Bowen
Bowen came up with another gem in this novel about Nate, an eighth grade soccer player. Nate is a forward on the Strikers, a U14 team playing in a fall league at the local SoccerPlex. Last year, his team came in second, so they’re all determined to be better. The problem is, the first place team, the Monarchs, also appears to be better. Nate has a side rivalry with his young aunt, Lizzie, who plays in a women’s adult league. Bowen follows Nate through the entire season, noting the highlights and lowlights of each encounter, on and off the field. Nate learns from Lizzie that real sportsmen don’t like to win by treating others badly. So, he refuses to follow through on a goal in a crucial game when his opponent appears to be injured. Of course, one of his teammates gives him a hard time when they lose the game. Eventually, he finds that Lizzie was right all along. Good sportsmanship is highly valued by the elite.
Many of the game situations used in the book are straight from famous games played in the past several years. Fourth graders will learn about the history and rules of the game. It’s a fun and exciting way to see human relations in practice.