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In Indiana, basketball is the next thing to religion. Especially for inner-city black kids like Derrick Bowen. He's a 6'3" freshman, lightning quick, and he can slam the rock. He wants to start at point guard for Marion High, but senior Nick Starks has that nailed down. Besides, the coach is old school. He thinks D-Bow needs to work on his game, his shot, and his attitude. In Indiana, basketball is the next thing to religion. Especially for inner-city black kids like Derrick Bowen. He's a 6'3" freshman, lightning quick, and he can slam the rock. He wants to start at point guard for Marion High, but senior Nick Starks has that nailed down. Besides, the coach is old school. He thinks D-Bow needs to work on his game, his shot, and his attitude. That means bench time. And that's when Hamilton Academy, the elite school in the suburbs, comes sniffing around. They want D-Bow for the next three years. His mom wants no part of that. But his father needs a job, and Uncle Kid, who is a bitter ex-star at Marion High, has his own plans. Yeah, there's a pretty girl and a best friend in the mix. Plus plenty of basketball action and suspense just like high school boys like to read. Kevin Waltman, a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, was a high school player and remains a huge basketball fan. Next is his third YA novel. His first two, both from Scholastic, are Nowhere Fast (2002) and Learning the Game (2005). Kevin is an instructor at the University of Alabama where he lives with his wife Jessica, their daughter Calla, and their dog Henry.


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In Indiana, basketball is the next thing to religion. Especially for inner-city black kids like Derrick Bowen. He's a 6'3" freshman, lightning quick, and he can slam the rock. He wants to start at point guard for Marion High, but senior Nick Starks has that nailed down. Besides, the coach is old school. He thinks D-Bow needs to work on his game, his shot, and his attitude. In Indiana, basketball is the next thing to religion. Especially for inner-city black kids like Derrick Bowen. He's a 6'3" freshman, lightning quick, and he can slam the rock. He wants to start at point guard for Marion High, but senior Nick Starks has that nailed down. Besides, the coach is old school. He thinks D-Bow needs to work on his game, his shot, and his attitude. That means bench time. And that's when Hamilton Academy, the elite school in the suburbs, comes sniffing around. They want D-Bow for the next three years. His mom wants no part of that. But his father needs a job, and Uncle Kid, who is a bitter ex-star at Marion High, has his own plans. Yeah, there's a pretty girl and a best friend in the mix. Plus plenty of basketball action and suspense just like high school boys like to read. Kevin Waltman, a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, was a high school player and remains a huge basketball fan. Next is his third YA novel. His first two, both from Scholastic, are Nowhere Fast (2002) and Learning the Game (2005). Kevin is an instructor at the University of Alabama where he lives with his wife Jessica, their daughter Calla, and their dog Henry.

30 review for Next

  1. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    [Probably only a 3 for me, but gotta be a 4+ for the teen thing.] Even readers who don’t know everything about basketball can follow this lovingly rendered prose that captures the action of high school hoops. Even I, who has perhaps never even watched a complete game of the sport in person or on the tube, can visualize the action and even, sort of, understand the plays and tempo of the game. I suspect that those who are the real audience for this novel—those that love the sport as fans or players [Probably only a 3 for me, but gotta be a 4+ for the teen thing.] Even readers who don’t know everything about basketball can follow this lovingly rendered prose that captures the action of high school hoops. Even I, who has perhaps never even watched a complete game of the sport in person or on the tube, can visualize the action and even, sort of, understand the plays and tempo of the game. I suspect that those who are the real audience for this novel—those that love the sport as fans or players—will not mind the nearly 300 pages of Derrick Bowen’s freshman year at Marion High in inner city Indianapolis. They may even line up for D-Bow’s next three years of high school in the sequels projected to follow his kicks and moves. This appears to be the kind of book that is made for reluctant readers, eager to follow D-Bow through his season: dueling Nick, a well-established senior, for the starting point guard spot; managing to keep his academic-minded parents and his former high school standout player Uncle Kid happy; and figuring out whether Nick’s girl Jasmine has eyes for the new guy. Like many skilled athletes, Derrick has to fight his ego and develop real confidence instead and to realize that all five on the floor matter, not just the guy who can slam like nobody’s business, make for a winning team. When Marion East doesn’t immediately take the season by storm, Derrick is open to suggestions that the private, white school up north with all the advantages might just be where he needs to go to get the wins at State that can get him looks from the best colleges and to the NBA someday. His best friend Wes and his little brother Jayson help round out the crowd of people in addition to coaches and family and teammates that seem to care what D-Bow does and decides about his future in basketball. Meanwhile, practices and games keep the sports segments coming to enliven the respectable narrative that accompanies it. While this is not the kind of book I would pick up for myself, I’m glad I have found another title to recommend to the sports-hungry students who think they can’t find anything in the library their teachers have dragged them to that could possibly satisfy. This one they would and should read. I’ll have to try out this theory with the next b-ball kid who comes my way.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joe Barron

    “Next”, written by Kevin Waltman shows why in Indiana, basketball is the next thing closest to religion. This especially pertains to Inner City black kids that don’t have anything other than basketball, like the main character of this book, Derrick Bowen. The lightning-quick and very athletic freshman has a lot of confidence about his game. Some may even call it a little bit of cockiness. The book goes deeper than just basketball, it shows what the sport means to these kids, and the main charact “Next”, written by Kevin Waltman shows why in Indiana, basketball is the next thing closest to religion. This especially pertains to Inner City black kids that don’t have anything other than basketball, like the main character of this book, Derrick Bowen. The lightning-quick and very athletic freshman has a lot of confidence about his game. Some may even call it a little bit of cockiness. The book goes deeper than just basketball, it shows what the sport means to these kids, and the main character is faced with the biggest decision that has occurred to him so far in his life. Derrick Bowen has more athleticism than anyone than anybody in Marion East High School, and maybe even in the whole state in Indiana. But he’s held back by his head coach for most of the book. The coach is a old-style coach with a lot of knowledge for the game, and is too stubborn to put him in the starting lineup for most of the season. Meanwhile, during a game with one of Indianapolis’ top private school, Hamilton Academy, Derrick was highly recognized by their coach because of his hard work and athleticism. This lead to them heavily recruiting him, and what was early nicknamed the biggest decision of his life so far. Hamilton Academy had Division 1 athletes in and out of their school for many years, while Marion East hasn’t ever had much. Derrick’s parents were calm about the decision and let Derrick choose for himself and made him decide what was overall the best choice for him. Derrick realized that being loyal to his own school was much more important than “looks” from recruiters from big-time colleges. Which overall benefits him when they match up against Hamilton Academy in the Regional Finals and beats them to advance onto the State Finals. I would highly recommend this book to any type of person who is interested in a non-fiction book. I especially liked this book because it’s very relatable, not that I’m an Inner City kid, but because I’m an athlete so it’s very easy to read this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mathias G

    The Book Next by Kevin Waltman is an inspirational story about a very talented basketball player, Derrick Bowen. He is a freshman at Marion High and wants to be the starting point guard on the Varsity team. Although he is very talented, the other players on the varsity team believe he shouldn't be on varsity, let alone starting for the team. The first practice Kevin and the player Brownlee go back and forth the entire time, but Kevin really shows his mark when he ends the game on a dunk over the The Book Next by Kevin Waltman is an inspirational story about a very talented basketball player, Derrick Bowen. He is a freshman at Marion High and wants to be the starting point guard on the Varsity team. Although he is very talented, the other players on the varsity team believe he shouldn't be on varsity, let alone starting for the team. The first practice Kevin and the player Brownlee go back and forth the entire time, but Kevin really shows his mark when he ends the game on a dunk over the trash-talking Brownlee. Then the coach begins to start talking to Kevin about enhancing his game and improving his game and then he will eventually get his shot at varsity. Until he improves his game, he will have to stay on the bench. The elite school, Hamilton Academy, comes around asking for Bowen for the next three years after his freshman year at Merion High, but his mother is against it while his father needs a job in Hamilton. This really puts Kevin to the test on his loyalty to Marion, or if he wants to shine at Hamilton Academy. Their season is a success as they make it to the playoffs and the championship. Although they end up losing, the way the coach and all the players react shows how much the game meant to them, especially the seniors. They don't leave the court in anger or despair, instead, they keep their heads up and congratulate the winning team. The book ends with it being Spring break as the season ends. Kevin vows to win the championship the following year, and immediately starts training for next season. This book portrays the literary element of metaphor. I feel like the example of him being seen as "small " or "not good enough" by the older players, but still striving to be the best is an example of perseverance since he is doing whatever it takes to be the best player he can be. What I liked about this book was that it told a good story that I felt connected to me. I've always been the underdog when it comes to basketball and reading this story really made me realize anything is possible as long as you put hard work and dedication towards it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Romeo

    So far in the story the main character is Derrick Bowen but his nickname is D-Bow in the story. He is a freshman in high school who plays basketball. He hopes to make the starting five and already has beef with someone named brownlee who always runs his mouth and brags about himself. In the beginning D-Bow is watching his uncle and bunch of other thirty year old men play basketball and he’s kind of breaking down the game and looking at how slow they play and how there not coordinated. Him and hi So far in the story the main character is Derrick Bowen but his nickname is D-Bow in the story. He is a freshman in high school who plays basketball. He hopes to make the starting five and already has beef with someone named brownlee who always runs his mouth and brags about himself. In the beginning D-Bow is watching his uncle and bunch of other thirty year old men play basketball and he’s kind of breaking down the game and looking at how slow they play and how there not coordinated. Him and his uncle “Kid” go and tell brownlee that D-Bow will be the best option for Marion East his high school and that they will have no choice but to play him. At the end of the story D-Bow is playing one of his toughest games of the season against a private school. Uncle kid is in the stands and as like anyone in an important game that is neck and neck the pressure is on. At this time D-Bow is in the starting lineup, he has worked so hard for his moment and has trained to be put in this position. It is only right that he start the game off strong even though the other older teammates think he is overrated. Just like that the game hits to 4th and D-Bow sees that it’s a tie game and he feels like this is his chance his moment to prove to everyone that he is the next. He takes his shot and he drains the three. Morale of the story was about an underrated kid, defied by all odds, going against older kids, and improving every step of the way. Derrick Bowen truly is Next.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Andre Williams

    The book I have been reading is the book title Next by Kevin Waltman and the book is a kid name Derrick Bowen and he is a 6foot 3 inches freshman at Marion East. The book takes place in Indianapolis where basketball is supreme In the state. The other main characters are uncle kid how is a bitter ex-basketball star at Marion high, Nick Starks how is a senior his the all-star of the team and plays the same position as Derrick the point grade, his father is a part-time security guard, a girl nam The book I have been reading is the book title Next by Kevin Waltman and the book is a kid name Derrick Bowen and he is a 6foot 3 inches freshman at Marion East. The book takes place in Indianapolis where basketball is supreme In the state. The other main characters are uncle kid how is a bitter ex-basketball star at Marion high, Nick Starks how is a senior his the all-star of the team and plays the same position as Derrick the point grade, his father is a part-time security guard, a girl named Jasmine who Derrick likes but, It is Nick’s girlfriend and Derrick’s best friend. The quote that I like the most is “call me little man, now.”( NEXT 11.) When Derrick said this in the first chapter when he was playing basketball in the park with his uncle kid. The reason he said that is because of there a guy in his 20’s and he lockdowns Derrick. When Derrick gets his hands on the ball then he said: “The last thing Brownlee sees before I throw it down is a nice up-close look at my LeBron, right about at the level of his silly goatee.” What the means is he basically just got dunked on. The main reason this book is mainly about his talents that its plot of it is for Derrick Bowen to get the starting point guard spot for Nick Starks how is a senior at Marion East High. Derrick what’s to make staring, but Derrick’s coach Bolden know’s he has the talent to go pro but need to work on his game. So he does, every day he has a practice he says after to work on his jump shot but his coach still doesn't but him at stared point guard even though Bolden knows it but does not put his in the starred line up. There was a time in the book when the coach put Derrick in the game but he places him in the 3 spot which is the small forward spot, Derrick knows how to play it but, he loves to have the ball at all time. What I don't like is he try to improve his game and we still don't start. One day he thinks about going to the school that wants his talents and he thought “I look around my room at all those ALL-Stars hanging on my walls. That’s who it's supposed to be someday.”(page 118) This is one of my favorite quote in the book because one of the all-stars on his wall was Derrick Rose state in the text. What I find funny in part 2 of the book that jasmine and tell why to Derrick why there are hang out in the car before jasmine takes him home. She basically tells him that she broke up with him because when they would lose a basketball game he would be so angry and hit her one time. The funny part was Derrick was not really listening and when she notices that he was not listening to her, she instantly was mad. Derrick said he was to really sorry and thought he should kiss her and do. Jasmine instantly moves him and yell at him to get out, that part of the book made me smile. My least favorite character in the book would be Derrick’s uncle kid. The reason why is because in the book he seems like a bad person to hang out with. In chapter 1 in the book, it states “A black Lexus with tinted windows rolling toward the court real slow.” Derrick was on the basketball court with Uncle kid. Then it said in the book “My uncle runs his tongue across his teeth like he tastes something bad and then says, to nobody in particular, “Gotta go.” (page 25). My favorite character in the book would be Derrick Bowen. The reason why is because he is the person in the book how never gave up to get the starting spot and never move schools when he could have started as a freshman and didn’t have to deal with coach Bolen anymore. The writing style the author uses is the best, the reason I think this way is because, the author makes the story take places in the inner city of Indiana, and if I rate this book it would be an eight out of ten. If you love the sport of basketball I would recommend the book NEXT by Kevin Waltman.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Strickler

    I recommend everyone to read this book if they want a joyful crazy sports experience. This book has it all basketball, friendship,relationship, drama, and some tough decision making. This book is about a kid named Derrick who loves basketball and goes to Marion East high school. He is a 15 year old kid who’s 6’2 and trying to get a starting point guard spot. The only problem is the starting spot is taken by a senior named Nick. He also has this coach named coach Bolden who is a really good coach but I recommend everyone to read this book if they want a joyful crazy sports experience. This book has it all basketball, friendship,relationship, drama, and some tough decision making. This book is about a kid named Derrick who loves basketball and goes to Marion East high school. He is a 15 year old kid who’s 6’2 and trying to get a starting point guard spot. The only problem is the starting spot is taken by a senior named Nick. He also has this coach named coach Bolden who is a really good coach but is tough on Derrick because he knows he has potential. Derek's uncle also known as “ Uncle Kid” was an all time scorer at Marion East but end up coming short of the NBA. Derrick also has a little brother named Jayson who is his number one supporter. He also has a best friend named Wes who doesn’t play basketball but he’s in band, so he attends everyone of his games. They are both really close to each other but they kind of drift apart once Wes meets this girl named Iesha. During the first few games they have Derrick coming off the bench, but eventually made him start at the 4 position with Nick running point, which is Derricks position. Since he is starting at the 4 he has to face all the really tall and strong kids. Their rivals Hamilton high school on the other side of town, are a rich preppy school who beats them every year. They have all the best players and have asked Derrick to play with them and has also offered his dad a job, they also try to bribe him with buying him anything. Derrick asked them for shoes to give Wes. Wes has been asking his dad for these shoes but his dad never came and gave him them. This act of kindness makes them stronger of friends. It’s a very tough decision for Derrick to choose to go to Hamilton or to stay at Marion East but I think he makes the right decision for staying with Marion East. During the season he also became close friends with Nick's ex girlfriend which causes some stuff between them but they work it out. They eventually find chemistry and become really good teammates. They struggled during the season but eventually won until their biggest game of the season where they face their rivals and the school that tried to get Derrick to transfer. Since Derrick was playing the 4 position he had to guard the best guy in the state. He had to guard Vasco who was much taller than him and stronger. It was a close game, the lead was going back and forth. Hamilton was losing at fourth until the last position where the shot mattered, “ it seemed to hang in the air forever, but when it falls it finds bottom”.(Waltman 284) This book is a series of 4, all the books go throughout his high school basketball career and the challenges he faces with it. I really enjoyed reading this book because the way the Arthur wrote it made you feel like you were Derrick. I also like the way he put the other characters in the book, describing their role in Derrick's life. He also did a good job on explaining everyone of Derrick’s game he never skipped one or made you feel like you missed anything. He would make sure to put every detail Derrick would do during his games, I liked that because it made you want to know what he was going to do next. I think the theme of this book is to never give up and to keep trying to get better. I think that is the theme because when Derrick wasn’t starting he never gave up he tried his hardest during games and finally cracked the starting lineup. He also was struggling with his shot but that didn’t stop him he took extra shots every day after practiced and continued to get better. All that work he put in started to show when he started expanding his range and hitting jump shots.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    Freshman Derrick Bowen knows that he has mad basketball skills. He's been playing the sport forever, nurtured by his Uncle Kid, and supported by his parents. Now that he's in high school, he is sure that he'll be a starter for Marion East High School. But despite his talent, his height, and his competitive nature, it just might be that Derrick [or D-Bow, as he's known on the court] has a thing or two to learn about working with a team and adjusting his attitude. Basketball fans will love all the Freshman Derrick Bowen knows that he has mad basketball skills. He's been playing the sport forever, nurtured by his Uncle Kid, and supported by his parents. Now that he's in high school, he is sure that he'll be a starter for Marion East High School. But despite his talent, his height, and his competitive nature, it just might be that Derrick [or D-Bow, as he's known on the court] has a thing or two to learn about working with a team and adjusting his attitude. Basketball fans will love all the descriptions of competition between Derrick's team and the other schools and root for D-Bow to come out ahead. But even as he deals with sitting on the bench and a coach whose leadership confuses him, D-Bow is being recruited by Hamilton Academy, a place that offers much better academics and some benefits for his uncle. While the basketball portion is strong, this book is so much more than that as D-Bow must choose between his inner city community and suburbia. There are so many youngsters out there who dream of making it big through basketball, but as this book demonstrates, being a great player just might not be enough. I really enjoyed the interactions between his parents and how loyal his best friend Wes was. These are complex characters living in Indianapolis, a city known for its basketball fanaticism, and the situations in which they find themselves are quite realistic and offer possible road maps for teen readers. I love that this is the first of four books about D-Bow, each one focused on one high school year.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Aidan 4/7

    Next is an Extremely awesome book!!! I encourage everyone to read this book or at least give it a chance!!! You wont regret it!!! It starts out with Derrick "D-Bow" Bowen just entering high school. He is determined to be the best player on the team and wants to be the first freshman to do it. Marion East High School loses a lot and every year they get wiped out by every other team. But when Derrick enters the team he really is the best player. He leads the team to second place in their regional Next is an Extremely awesome book!!! I encourage everyone to read this book or at least give it a chance!!! You wont regret it!!! It starts out with Derrick "D-Bow" Bowen just entering high school. He is determined to be the best player on the team and wants to be the first freshman to do it. Marion East High School loses a lot and every year they get wiped out by every other team. But when Derrick enters the team he really is the best player. He leads the team to second place in their regional tournament as a freshman. Read this book to learn more about D-Bow's Basketball career and his romance with The former best basketball player Nick Starks' Ex Girlfriend Jasmine.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    This was okay. My middle school boys both read it and loved it, and it's based in Indianapolis so I thought I'd give it a try. You would have to really like basketball to like this. Half the book is like listening to the play-by-play of a basketball game on the radio. I didn't love all the details. I can understand why a basketball loving teenager would enjoy it though. I don't plan to read any more in the series, but just to note - my boys told me there is some inappropriate stuff as the books g This was okay. My middle school boys both read it and loved it, and it's based in Indianapolis so I thought I'd give it a try. You would have to really like basketball to like this. Half the book is like listening to the play-by-play of a basketball game on the radio. I didn't love all the details. I can understand why a basketball loving teenager would enjoy it though. I don't plan to read any more in the series, but just to note - my boys told me there is some inappropriate stuff as the books go on. The main character has a girlfriend, etc.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chase Garrett

    In Indiana, basketball is the most important thing other than religion. Especially for city colored kids, like Derrick Bowen. Who’s a six foot three freshman, lightning fast, and can dunk the ball. His goal is to start point guard for Marion High School, but Nick Starks already has that position. The coach thinks D-bow (Derrick Bowen) needs to improve his game. So this means he will have to sit the bench more, and he doesn’t want that. Now that’s when Hamilton Academy, an elite school in the In Indiana, basketball is the most important thing other than religion. Especially for city colored kids, like Derrick Bowen. Who’s a six foot three freshman, lightning fast, and can dunk the ball. His goal is to start point guard for Marion High School, but Nick Starks already has that position. The coach thinks D-bow (Derrick Bowen) needs to improve his game. So this means he will have to sit the bench more, and he doesn’t want that. Now that’s when Hamilton Academy, an elite school in the suburbs. They start hunting around and they want D-bow for the next three years. His dad needs a job a job at Hamilton, and his uncle was an old star at Marion High has his own plans. There is a pretty girl and best friend in the way. So will D-bow choose just friends and home school or will he go after the elite school after?

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael Pimentel

    It was a very entertaining book and I liked the way the author wrote and the point of view coming directly from the main character who influences on the way he thinks and reacts to certain situations.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Mcd

    This is basically a bunch of play by plays for the games. Very little plot off of the basketball court.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Endlessly creative sports writing, but short on character and story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Casey King

    It was a really good book

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joey Bryan

    ... This was my first book I have read from Kevin Waltman, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the book Next. The purpose of Next was to clearly entertain the reader. It was clear from the point of view being first person. Having the book be in a first person point of view made it so much more entertaining and dramatic, it made the reader feel like you were the main character Derrick Bowen. Since the character is around my age I can relate to him very well. I can feel his emotions from the way t ... This was my first book I have read from Kevin Waltman, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the book Next. The purpose of Next was to clearly entertain the reader. It was clear from the point of view being first person. Having the book be in a first person point of view made it so much more entertaining and dramatic, it made the reader feel like you were the main character Derrick Bowen. Since the character is around my age I can relate to him very well. I can feel his emotions from the way the author wrote the book and him being my age. I know the stress from the parallel plot of him trying to get a starting position on his high school basketball team and wanting to be in a relationship with his crush, Jasmine. These parallel plots will give the reader anticipation that puts the reader in the narrator's shoes and a want to know what will happen next. I also thought Waltman was courageous in putting another conflict in the book by seeing if Derrick would want to move to a new school to help his family out. Having many plots going on at once always keeps you on the edge of your seat. ... The Theme is very hard to find in the book because the reader get so wrapped up in the plot. The theme is stay true to where you are from. When Derrick was offered to go to a new school, which would have given both his uncle and his dad a job and it was in a safer school. The school would have also helped Derrick be spotted by colleges which would help his future. Throughout the entire book, when the plot was added in, you were asking if he was going to go to Hamilton (the new school). This is explained When Derrick said "I made my decision, Coach Campbell" (247). Derrick was walking back home after a game when his Uncle stops him to talk. As they are talking Coach Campbell comes up and is asking him why he asked for shoes and then told Coach Treat he decided to stay. Before this Derrick must have realized that he should stay for his friends and family. ... Since the book was written to entertain and is narrated through the eyes of Derrick, it is easy to tell that the book is a narration. A way the reader can tell this is with this quote "I turn to watch Moose go to work, but am shocked to see Nick ignore him completely. Instead, he waves Devin down from the top of the key and then dribbles over to my side. He waves Royce down to the opposite baseline, though it takes a second for Bedford to obey. Finally, with everyone flattened out, he motions for me to come to the perimeter. At last, I see what he is doing" (204). The way I can tell that this is a narration is because he explains what happens in the game from his point of view. This way the reader feels as if he or she is the one playing the game. I loved how effectively the author used this style to make the reader feel as if they are Derrick Bowen. Another example of this would be "Unbelievable. I'm the one busting ass every day after practice, and this is how I get rewarded" (137). Derrick is upset that he is not in the starting 5 of the next game. I have to say when I read that, I felt Derrick's anger. With Derrick's anger before the game it makes the reader wonder how he will react on the court. ... The book Next was a great book and could be considered my favorite bo0k. The way Waltman described the games and practices through Derrick's eyes made you feel his emotions. I have never read a sports book that made me feel like I was on a roller coaster the entire time. One thing that I would change would be the ending. I feel like it was a let down. Since there were so many plots going at once I was expecting the ending to tie everything together but it just didn't get to that point and it did not give me the closure I was looking for.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ben Reinert

    I believe the author's purpose was to teach kids how to handle adversity. The reason I believe it is directed towards kids is because it is about a high schooler, so this helps the main character relate more to the kids. Many times throughout the story, Derrick Bowen a.k.a D-Bow, the main character, has to get back up after being knocked down. One of the very first times this happens is when he does not make the starting five over his teammate Nick Starks. He handles this adversity by working l I believe the author's purpose was to teach kids how to handle adversity. The reason I believe it is directed towards kids is because it is about a high schooler, so this helps the main character relate more to the kids. Many times throughout the story, Derrick Bowen a.k.a D-Bow, the main character, has to get back up after being knocked down. One of the very first times this happens is when he does not make the starting five over his teammate Nick Starks. He handles this adversity by working longer hours with the coaches to make his game better, slowly but surely. He also has to handle his dad not making as much money as he used to because he wasn't needed as much. Maturely, he handles this by being smarter with his money. The theme of this story is that sometimes you have to make the hard decisions. The main hard decision Derrick has to make is if he should stay at the high school he is at currently or moving to a much better basketball program high school that also offered his dad a full time job. Should he leave his life long friends and help his dad or stay where he is and try to carry his current team to a successful four years? Aside from this decision, Derrick also has to decide if he should go after Nick's girlfriend, Jasmine Winters, the prettiest girl in the school that seems like has a crush on Derrick, or stand back and wish that could be him. Both of these decisions are pivotal to the rest of the story. The story's style that this was written in was a narration. It is a narration because the story moves in a chronological order with a plot. The genre was a sports-fiction novel because it is book about a fictional basketball player. The style was very effective because without a series of events, this story would not be nearly as interesting. We wouldn't be able to see the grind that Derrick goes through during the season. Without the narration, we wouldn't be able to hear his coach tell him, "Head straight! Head straight! Keep your head straight, D!" That was something that the coaches wanted him to work on which we wouldn't have known without a narration. His dad said, "They've offered me a job there, but only if you come along too," which is that vital part of the hard decision which we wouldn't have known about without the sequence of events in the story. I really like this book. The main reason I liked it was because I enjoy sports stories. I liked that I could really relate the main character D-Bow. I liked the detail the the author put into the story. One thing I was not quite fond of was the fact that some things in the story did not have to be a part of the story. It felt like the story would drag on when I was reading these parts of the story. When the author says, "There's a reason we usually hang at my house instead of Wes'," and then proceeds to tell me why, it was not very necessary. All in all, the story was a very well written story with a good ending that made me want to read the next book in the series.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Johnny Steinwart

    Kevin Waltman's purpose for writing this story is to entertain, as well as show the life of a high school athlete. Waltman does a fantastic job of doing in-depth play-by-play of the main character's, Derrick Bowen, basketball games. For example, Waltman's talks about the conversations and tensions in the middle of the huddle in a big game. The emotions and thoughts of all the players are conveyed, and it makes you feel like you are really there watching the game. Waltman also shows the struggles Kevin Waltman's purpose for writing this story is to entertain, as well as show the life of a high school athlete. Waltman does a fantastic job of doing in-depth play-by-play of the main character's, Derrick Bowen, basketball games. For example, Waltman's talks about the conversations and tensions in the middle of the huddle in a big game. The emotions and thoughts of all the players are conveyed, and it makes you feel like you are really there watching the game. Waltman also shows the struggles, as well as positive things, that come from being a good high school athlete. For example, the pressure Bowen feels in the story is very evident, as well as the positive energy he gets from being a young star on the rise. The theme of the book is that you are never as good as you think you are, but you also aren't as bad as you think you are. The theme is shown by the way Derrick Bowen thinks he is the next greatest thing at his high school, Marion East. Although Derrick is a star talent, he has things to work on before he reaches his full potential. For example, Derrick is not a very good shooter, and gets down on himself for his lack of success. Derrick begins to stay after practice to make himself better, improving his game. So, before he started working on his shit, he thought he was perfect, but then realized his faults. After realizing his faults, he thought he was horrible, although that was not true. The moral of the story is to stay humble, but keep your head held high. The story was told in first person, from the perspective of the main character, Derrick Bowen. Bowen tells the feelings that he has, as well as the feelings and thoughts he perceives that others have. The story is much better from this perspective than it would be from a third person perspective because if it was in third person, the reader would not have all the insight on the social and athletic world that Derrick shows. For example, if the story was told in third person, the reader would not know the nervousness along with the energy that Derrick feels his first day of basketball because the narrator would not be able to see basketball like Derrick sees it. In my opinion, this book receives 5 stars out of 5 because it grabs hold of the readers competitive spirit, and takes it on a long and memorable ride. There are many climaxes in the story, and the author does a spectacular job of leaving the reader hanging, making them want to read more. I had much trouble putting this book down because of its' relevance to the high school athlete's life. I recommend "Next" to any athlete or former athlete who enjoys the game of basketball, as well as the life of a high schooler. Thank you, Kevin, for feeding my mind such wonderful entertainment from this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marsalis Mitchell

    In Indianapolis, Indiana basketball is the most important thing to the fresh man Derrick Bowen. Usually everyone calls him D-bow. D-bow is 6'3 and he goes to Marion High. At Marion the school is predominantly black. Derrick looks forward to trying out for the Marion high basketball team. Derrick's advantage at basketball is height and he can throw down that ball. At tryouts his Coach, Bolden, seems to think otherwise. Coach Bolden thinks that Derrick should work on his shot and his passing abil In Indianapolis, Indiana basketball is the most important thing to the fresh man Derrick Bowen. Usually everyone calls him D-bow. D-bow is 6'3 and he goes to Marion High. At Marion the school is predominantly black. Derrick looks forward to trying out for the Marion high basketball team. Derrick's advantage at basketball is height and he can throw down that ball. At tryouts his Coach, Bolden, seems to think otherwise. Coach Bolden thinks that Derrick should work on his shot and his passing ability. That means Derrick will be playing the bench. Soon an opportunity swings toward D-bow's way. Hamilton Academy an elite basketball school looks for skilled basketball players. They find D-bow they want him to play for them. This creates conflict within his parents. D-bow will also get distracted because of the beauty Jasmine presents. D-bow has challenges that he has to overcome if he wants to make it. D-bow has a lot of stress in the book. It is lifted off his shoulders every time he gets to spend time with his little brother. When its basketball season D-bow and his brother don't spend that much time together. When ever D-bow gets to play the game with him it always puts a smile on his face. D-bow has big dreams. D-bow hopes to make it to a division one school and then from there make it to the NBA. He wants to be the next Derrick Bowen. D-bow's side mission would be to get that pretty girl Jasmine as his girl friend. D-bow would like that. If you like sports or like to watch them this book is for you. It is about basketball and it is a current type basketball book its not old school. If you play basketball or very serious about it then this about is also for you. It is a good motivation book about basketball and its similar to the problems you might have to go through as a basketball player. If you are a teenager in high school as a ball player this book is for as well. The book shows how tough high school Coaches can be on a basketball player. It can prepare you for what might hit you next or what challenge you might have to overcome. If you are one of those people or similar I suggest you read this book, it is interesting and its an overall good book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Derrick is a good basketball player who has gotten a fair amount of local attention in Indianapolis for his playing. He is on the high school basketball team at Marion High, where he has Coach Bolden, who also worked with his father and Uncle Kid. As the new hot shot on the team, it seems like the older players, especially Starks, are trying to cut him down to size, and it doesn't help that Derrick is trying to make time with Starks' girlfriend, Jasmine. Derrick is struggling with fitting in and Derrick is a good basketball player who has gotten a fair amount of local attention in Indianapolis for his playing. He is on the high school basketball team at Marion High, where he has Coach Bolden, who also worked with his father and Uncle Kid. As the new hot shot on the team, it seems like the older players, especially Starks, are trying to cut him down to size, and it doesn't help that Derrick is trying to make time with Starks' girlfriend, Jasmine. Derrick is struggling with fitting in and playing the way that Bolden wants him to play-- as part of the team, not a ball hog-- and wishes that things would just be easier. His Uncle Kid thinks they can be, as long as Derrick considers the offer from a private school, Hamilton Academy, to attend school there and be on their winning team. The school has even offered his father a security job there, which the family could use. However, Derrick's mother is very proud of their community and doesn't want him to sell out. Derrick has to decide what is most important in his life. Strengths: Definitely purchasing. This had lots of good basketball descriptions (i.e. I didn't understand what was going on!), but I especially liked the details of how to play well as a team instead of as an individual. The family dynamics were supported but slightly strained, as is typical with teenagers, and even the budding relationship with Jasmine was rather nice. (The two meet at a bookstore, and Derrick buys a book because she is reading it.) Weaknesses: Bad cover, especially since the library copy I had didn't even have a dust jacket. A teacher who has coached basketball (and isn't much of a reader) just stopped by and wrinkled his nose at the book, saying "What's the title? By Kevin Waltman?" There are also two gratuitous f-bombs (on pages 140 and 248) but considering that Learning the Game (2005) had many more, I may just employ my spit-and-pencil-eraser technique to gently obliterate them. Authors! You don't want your work bowdlerized, don't be a potty mouth. Geez.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    In Indiana, basketball is the next thing to religion. Especially for an inner-city black kid like Derrick Bowen. For 15 year old Derrick going by the nick name “D-Bow” basketball is life. He's a 6’3 freshman lightning quick, and he can slam the rock. He dreams of being a starting point guard for Indianapolis high school. Eventually playing in the NBA, but senior Nick Starks has that nailed down mainly because the coach is old school. Everyone has an opinion about how Derrick should reach those goals, t In Indiana, basketball is the next thing to religion. Especially for an inner-city black kid like Derrick Bowen. For 15 year old Derrick going by the nick name “D-Bow” basketball is life. He's a 6’3 freshman lightning quick, and he can slam the rock. He dreams of being a starting point guard for Indianapolis high school. Eventually playing in the NBA, but senior Nick Starks has that nailed down mainly because the coach is old school. Everyone has an opinion about how Derrick should reach those goals, the coach thinks D-Bow needs work on his game, his shot and his attitude. That means Bench time! The teams nonsense coach is determined to keep Derrick “ Pinned to the pine “ training him all hours to help the team make it to states. The Biggest weakness for me in this novel is that, Derrick isn't making any decisions for himself. To me it seem like every one is making his decisions for him. The coach, mom, dad, pretty girl “crush” and his best friend. Derrick parents disagree about whether he should transfer to an academy in the suburbs, and Derrick scheming uncle Kid is attempting to compensate for his own failed basketball career through Derrick. Then there are Derrick’s sophisticated crush, Jasmine and his grounded best friend Wes who wants him to widen his horizon beyond the court. Most important stage the in this novel, Derrick may be just 15 and only entering high school, but Division I and even NBA dreams are not un-realistic. Derrick Bowen Has everything that it takes physically to be in the NBA, bad attitude and not having the smarts will stop your whole career, D-Bow doesn't understand that he need to be book smart and street smart. Waltman’s learning the game novel is packed with basketball jargon and action, but also impressively multifaceted, as it examines neighborhood hatred. The tremendous pressures that come With making ones first adult decisions, and the values of both team work and individualty.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mikah Lawrence

    Curse Words!!!!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    The authors purpose of writing this book is that you have have to follow your heart in a descion you make. The author show the readers that you cant rely on other people to make important decisions in your life. You have to do what you think is right. The theme of this book is that you have to do what you think is right. In this book Bowen has to make an important decision whether he want to transfer to a high school where the basketball team is very good and could most likely win state, also th The authors purpose of writing this book is that you have have to follow your heart in a descion you make. The author show the readers that you cant rely on other people to make important decisions in your life. You have to do what you think is right. The theme of this book is that you have to do what you think is right. In this book Bowen has to make an important decision whether he want to transfer to a high school where the basketball team is very good and could most likely win state, also the school is offering Bowen's dad a job at the high school and his dad is struggling for work. His other choice is to stay at the school where he is currently at. This schools basketball team is decent but is getting a lot better so Bowen has to make a tough descion whether to stay at Marion East or transfer to Hamilton Academy. This book was written in a very descriptive way. Every time there was a game the author would describe every little thing about the gym and how it looked, how many people were there. The author would describe every time the crowd would get loud he would describe that very well. Bowen liked a girl and every time they would see each other the author would describe what she was wearing and how her skinned look and how she would smell. Overall the author did a great job describing every little detail. Overall the book was a great book. Not only was it a great book about basketball but also a great book about making tough decisions and going with what you believe. A thing I liked about the book was that it was so detailed. I thing I didn't like about the book was that the book started a little slow but nothing too big, otherwise the book was great.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    From January 2014 School Library Journal: Gr 7 Up—Derrick Bowen is ready to be the star of his high school basketball team. He was a hero in middle school, but senior Nick Starks isn't about to concede his starting point-guard position. Even when Derrick outperforms him, the coach continues to start Nick, and uses Derrick to sub for other starters. Derrick's uncle, a former Marion East player who still blames Coach Bolden for getting in the way of his own basketball dreams, tries to convince his From January 2014 School Library Journal: Gr 7 Up—Derrick Bowen is ready to be the star of his high school basketball team. He was a hero in middle school, but senior Nick Starks isn't about to concede his starting point-guard position. Even when Derrick outperforms him, the coach continues to start Nick, and uses Derrick to sub for other starters. Derrick's uncle, a former Marion East player who still blames Coach Bolden for getting in the way of his own basketball dreams, tries to convince his nephew to transfer to Hamilton Academy, an elite school in the Indianapolis suburbs that is actively recruiting the 6-foot, 3-inch inner-city freshman. Derrick is tempted, especially since Hamilton is including a job offer for his dad. But as he gets to know Coach Bolden better, Derrick realizes that the old coach is pushing him out of his comfort zone to make him a better player. After a sloppy start to their season, the Marion East guys finally accept what Bolden has been trying to teach them: that as long as they're looking for individual glory, they're never going to play their best. The group slowly meshes into a team, and Derrick comes to appreciate the deeper camaraderie with his teammates over the flash that Hamilton offers. Readers will appreciate the fully fleshed-out characters and authentic dialogue. The blend of sports action and relationships holds tremendous appeal for basketball fans and reluctant readers, although those who are not familiar with the game may have trouble understanding the jargon. A solid choice for fans of Paul Volponi and Walter Dean Myers.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shanna Miles

    I will admit that sports books are outside of my comfort zone. I'm a vampire and alternate reality type of girl, but I will say that Waltman's Next: D'Bow's High School Hoops drew me in with great dialogue and the kind of break-neck action that has you waiting on the end of your seat and skipping to the next page to see what will happen next, and this is despite my little knowledge of basketball terminology, and that's saying quite a bit. I was four chapters in before I figured out a "bucket" wa I will admit that sports books are outside of my comfort zone. I'm a vampire and alternate reality type of girl, but I will say that Waltman's Next: D'Bow's High School Hoops drew me in with great dialogue and the kind of break-neck action that has you waiting on the end of your seat and skipping to the next page to see what will happen next, and this is despite my little knowledge of basketball terminology, and that's saying quite a bit. I was four chapters in before I figured out a "bucket" was a good thing. Derrick Brown is the next rising start at Marion East High, the struggling inner city school on the wrong side of town. His coach is hard on him, mostly because he can see potential, but Derrick bristles. When Hamilton East, the preppy private school in the "nice" part of town comes calling Derrick can't help but listen, especially when they thrown in a few perks to sweeten the deal, but after a full season of sweat and tears with his team can he just transfer and turn friends into enemies? You can kind of get an idea of what Derrick will choose early on, but it's a nice ride and it's a quick pick for anyone who is interested in basketball. What's also great is that while the dialogue is completely on point there was no effort to dumb down the content for the reader. This is a mistake that I see too often with sports books and books targeted for boys, especially boys of color. Pick it up!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Derrick Bowden is a 6’3 freshman playing on his high school basketball team and has dreams of winning the state championship. However Derrick begins to stumble upon distractions outside of basketball including a struggling relationship with his crush and pressure to transfer schools thus diminishing his ability to play basketball well. Derrick wonders if he can power through these problems and win the state championship. This book makes me thinks about the opportunities you have in life if you w Derrick Bowden is a 6’3 freshman playing on his high school basketball team and has dreams of winning the state championship. However Derrick begins to stumble upon distractions outside of basketball including a struggling relationship with his crush and pressure to transfer schools thus diminishing his ability to play basketball well. Derrick wonders if he can power through these problems and win the state championship. This book makes me thinks about the opportunities you have in life if you work hard. It also makes me think about the people who have been in low class family and have worked hard, fulfilled their dream, and made themselves happier as a result. What reminded me of this in my book was Derek who lives in a low class family will most likely make it NBA because of his hard work and effort. I would recommend this book to any basketball or sports fiction reader. I liked how the author could describe the action of basketball game and paint a good picture of what was happening. I also enjoyed the contrast the author created between the main character’s lower class school and neighborhood and his rivals schools upscale school and neighboring community. Lastly I like the overall plot of the book, and the process of how the main character’s team goes from losing to being unstoppable.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ian Farmer

    Next by Kevin Waltman is a sports novel about a teenager by the name of Derrick Bowen who is a freshman at Marion East High School and wants to take the lead spot of starting point guard on the basketball team. Derrick has an advantage that makes it easier to accomplish his goal. Derrick's talents are recognized and a school called Hamilton Academy wants to recruit him, not only do they want to recruit him but they offer his father a well-needed full time job if he does play for them. I personal Next by Kevin Waltman is a sports novel about a teenager by the name of Derrick Bowen who is a freshman at Marion East High School and wants to take the lead spot of starting point guard on the basketball team. Derrick has an advantage that makes it easier to accomplish his goal. Derrick's talents are recognized and a school called Hamilton Academy wants to recruit him, not only do they want to recruit him but they offer his father a well-needed full time job if he does play for them. I personally enjoyed this book because of the effect basketball has on my life. As a child, I participated in a lot of youth basketball associations and i still do to this day. Basketball runs in my family and hopefully my children in the future will enjoy and cherish it like I do. I also enjoyed the hunger, drive, and determination Derrick displayed throughout the book. If i could recommend a book like this , I would in a heart beat. The book is easy for people to understand even if you don't know basketball very well. It combines the worlds of literature and sports, an excellent combination for what i feel is its target audience, young teenage readers.Can't wait to read part two of this series.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alexis D'Ambrosio-8

    Kevin Waltman's book, Next, is about a boy, Derrick, who has a dream and skill to play NBA basketball. Derrick lives in Indianapolis in a African American neighborhood. His goal this year is to make the varsity basketball team at Marion East. The coach tries to teach him how to be part of a team rather than being a "ball hog" and not passing the ball around. I liked how the Waltman explained every detail throughout the whole basketball game. I felt like I was actually in the stands at the game. Kevin Waltman's book, Next, is about a boy, Derrick, who has a dream and skill to play NBA basketball. Derrick lives in Indianapolis in a African American neighborhood. His goal this year is to make the varsity basketball team at Marion East. The coach tries to teach him how to be part of a team rather than being a "ball hog" and not passing the ball around. I liked how the Waltman explained every detail throughout the whole basketball game. I felt like I was actually in the stands at the game. I thought he should have made Derrick switch schools even though they are snotty. He could have been a starter on a scholarship. Also his dad would have a full time job and be making money! You can’t just be the best you you need to work for it. Also you need to be able to work with your team. Derrick chose the right decision of staying at school and working to become a starter even though his dad didn't get the job there. Over all I gave this book a 4 out of 5 on good read. I gave it a 4 because at some parts the story got a little boring and plain. I would recommend this book to people who like basketball and is over the age of 10. It was a good book to visualized and I enjoyed reading it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    For some readers, this will be a four or five star book. Kids who live and breath basketball will find a kindred spirit here in Waltman's D-Bow. He's a freshman-almost-starter who has some school skills, but whose passion is hoop. Waltman doesn't skimp on the games, plays, and on-court detail. And there is more to this: a love interest, a friendship under stress, and big decissions that effect more than just our protagonist. It is a longer book, and there are teams of players to be processed, so For some readers, this will be a four or five star book. Kids who live and breath basketball will find a kindred spirit here in Waltman's D-Bow. He's a freshman-almost-starter who has some school skills, but whose passion is hoop. Waltman doesn't skimp on the games, plays, and on-court detail. And there is more to this: a love interest, a friendship under stress, and big decissions that effect more than just our protagonist. It is a longer book, and there are teams of players to be processed, so I wonder if reluctant readers will be able to fathom it all. There's a truly interesting racial discussion between D-Bow and his father, if that's of importance to the readership. All in all, I'll be suggesting this to fans of Carl Deuker who want a logner read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    My peeps who read sports here in Indiana will probably throw five stars at Nextby Kevin Waltman. It contains a lot of play-by-play ball, which is a good thing. Too many sports book these days dwell on some dysfunctional aspect of the player's family or neighborhood. This story is pretty much pure ball. It describing basketball standout "D-Bow's" freshman season, Waltman emphasizes the hard decisions the kid has to make for himself and his team. The plethora of references to Indianapolis schools My peeps who read sports here in Indiana will probably throw five stars at Nextby Kevin Waltman. It contains a lot of play-by-play ball, which is a good thing. Too many sports book these days dwell on some dysfunctional aspect of the player's family or neighborhood. This story is pretty much pure ball. It describing basketball standout "D-Bow's" freshman season, Waltman emphasizes the hard decisions the kid has to make for himself and his team. The plethora of references to Indianapolis schools and landmarks makes the story more real to Hoosier readers...I wonder how other readers will respond? The author assumes that saying "Fall Creek" means something to everyone. That may be assuming too much.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Xavier St.myer

    This book didn't appeal to me as much as it could have, but it was a good read. It takes place in downtown Indianapolis and follows Derrick Bowen, a basketball prodigy who is enrolled as a high school freshman at Marion East, a nice, familiar place. I'm not one for basketball, but this book was very entertaining when describing both games and the funny events of Derrick's life. Kevin Waltman does and excellent job at creating realistic high school characters, using slang and language that most k This book didn't appeal to me as much as it could have, but it was a good read. It takes place in downtown Indianapolis and follows Derrick Bowen, a basketball prodigy who is enrolled as a high school freshman at Marion East, a nice, familiar place. I'm not one for basketball, but this book was very entertaining when describing both games and the funny events of Derrick's life. Kevin Waltman does and excellent job at creating realistic high school characters, using slang and language that most kids do. It had it's sad moments, along with basketball wins and funny embarrassing moments. Overall, this book was a good read, excellent for an Indiana basketball-loving young adult.

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