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Saturday, 11 December 2010

TBC: Making The Cut

Teebz's Book Club returns today with another exciting book in a series of what has turned out to be an excellent trilogy of reads. I had previously reviewed the first two books in the Game Time series, Off The Crossbar and Rebel Power Play, written by David Skuy, and we return with the third installment of this series in Making The Cut, published once again by Scholastic Canada. The Game Time series follows the story of Charlie Joyce, a teenaged boy who loves playing hockey. In Making The Cut, Charlie has been invited to the Youth Elite Hockey School (YEHS) as he continues his hockey dream, but, like in the other stories, Charlie finds himself in some trouble in this book.

From the Charlie Joyce website, "David Skuy is a lawyer, recreational hockey player, and author of the Charlie Joyce Hockey Series. A popular speaker and advocate for the reading and writing skills of school-age children, he has crafted a series of books designed to capture the imagery, the sounds, the conflicts, and the achievements that typify a young boy’s life, be it in the school yard or in the hockey rink".

The story in Making The Cut sees Charlie faced with a number of dilemmas: Charlie's mom can't really afford to send Charlie to the YEHS, Jake is still causing Charlie problems, Charlie runs into a new set of antagonists, and he still needs to get better at YEHS if his mother can afford to send him to the school.

Thankfully, Charlie's little sister, Danielle, decides that drama school isn't that important, and allows Charlie to use the money that their mother has saved for it to be used to send Charlie to YEHS. Charlie, as expected, is overly excited, and finds out that Scott and Nick, two good friends from school, are also going. Unfortunately, Pudge, his best friend, did not get a letter of invitation. Pudge, however, is happy for Charlie, Scott, and Nick... until they find out that Jake has also been invited.

Charlie gets to the school and finds that the coaching staff is an impressive group, including Mr. Miller who won a Stanley Cup with the Dallas Stars. While Jake is playing with a different group, Charlie reconnects with Scott and Nick, and meets up with a couple of new friends: Corey Sanderson, his fitness-obsessed roommate, Simon and Gabriel, wingers who are friends, and Ben Slogen, aka Slogger. It appears that camp will be a great time with his new friends until he meets up with Jake and his new friends: Zane, Richard, Nathan, and Pete. These kids are much like Jake - bullies. Charlie realizes he has his work cut out for him as these guys test Charlie's physical strength as much as his patience and restraint.

Strange things begin to happen at the camp. Charlie's alarm clock doesn't go off, and he nearly misses the bus on the first day of camp. Charlie's elbow pads go missing one morning, forcing him to wrap his elbows in old hockey socks. Another day, his equipment bag is found in an empty dressing room in a completely different rink. And the biggest mystery at the camp is Mr. Miller's missing Stanley Cup ring! Who could have taken it? Why is this stuff happening to Charlie? Who is behind the mysteries?

Making The Cut is another excellent book by David Skuy, and I personally think that it is the best of the three books he has published under the Game Time series. Charlie's constant battles with Jake and his friends are one of the major sub-plots, but the mystery involving Charlie's equipment and Mr. Miller's ring drive the story along as a nice side story. Making The Cut definitely deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval, and I look forward to more books from Mr. Skuy featuring Charlie Joyce!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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