Book: One Last Shot (2020)
Author: John David Anderson
Genre: MG, Contemporary
Basic plot: Malcolm’s dad is always trying to get him into some extra-curricular sport. When they discover that Malcolm is actually quite good at mini-golf, guess who gets signed up for a tournament, not to mention his own private golf lessons! In addition to all things golf, Malcolm has to deal with a new relationship with a girl he meets at the mini-putt as well as the increasing fighting between his parents. And that’s not to mention the voices of doubt inside his head …
Opening lines from the book …
It’s a beautiful, sunny day here in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, where twenty-four talented young golfers are getting ready to tackle this monster of a course.
WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…
1) I think my favourite character in the whole book is Frank, the cranky coach! I love how he ends up connecting with Malcolm. By the end of the book, when he (*SPOILER) is in the hospital, I felt genuine concern! (End Spoiler) This book is worth it just for the character of Frank! He definitely added some spice. 🙂
2) I also enjoyed the friendship between Lex and Malcolm. I loved all of Lex’s little trivia facts. And how she brought in Pac-Man and the “One dot at a time.” And I especially like how she helps brings everything together by the end of the book.
3) The mini-golfing was fun. I don’t think I’ve read a book about mini-golf (or even, golf!) before. There was enough information to help me understand the scoring and such, but not so much that I grew frustrated. (Note: It’s been a while since I’ve play a game of mini-golf! Kind of made me want to try my hand at it. Although, I know I’m not nearly as talented as Malcolm.)
4) I thought it was interesting how Anderson brings in Malcolm’s big opponent: Jamie Tran. We don’t really get to know Jamie, other than that he has his own youtube channel and is serious about mini-golf. I think it’s an interesting decision on the part of the author to deal with Malcolm’s “nemesis” in this way. And Malcolm’s choice at the end of the game is particularly interesting to me.
5) Then there was the situation with the parents. I find “divorce stories” hard to read sometimes. In this book, Malcolm lives through the constant bickering of his parents. And, at one point, (*SPOILER) Dad even moves out. But then, while the end is not resolved about whether or not the parents will go through with a divorce, there does seem to be hope. And I like hopeful endings. (End Spoiler)
6) Of all the “voices” that Malcolm experiences (voices of doubt, etc.) my favourite ones were Bill and Jim, the fictional Sports Commentators who chatter about each golf move. It was a nice technique to bring some fun to how Malcolm sees the game unfolding before him. (Note: It’s Bill (or is it Jim) who speaking the opening lines of the book. See above.)
THINGS THAT BOTHERED ME…
1) This story begins with the big tournament, and throughout the book, the tournament is the anchor to all the flashback scenes. I liked that. What I had trouble with was knowing what was flashback and what was happening in real time. By the end of the book, I was getting it; but it took over half the book of me being slightly confused! I think there might have been a better way to do this.
I really enjoyed this story, even though golfing is not really my thing. I particularly liked the ending and thought it fit in well with Malcolm’s character. Overall, it’s a fun book that also deals with some very real issues that kids face.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday…