On the Line
by Paul Coccia and Eric Walters
Orca Book Publishers, 2022
ISBN 978-1-4598-2713-4 (sc)
$12.95, 312 pp, ages 9 – 12
Ontario-based authors Coccia and Walters have collaborated on a novel that deals with issues that are pertinent to many young North American readers – family breakdowns, gender and sports, violence in schools, harassment, and safe spaces. Protagonist Jordan Ryker is an intermediate-aged student with a love for basketball but an increasingly chaotic home and school life. His parents separate, then his father announces he is gay (as eventually does his best friend), and he woos and loses his first real girlfriend. Jordie reacts to all this by lashing out and alienating pretty much everyone around him at some point. In the end, we aren’t sure how the team will ultimately fare in the championship game, but we know Jordie is going to be ok.
Classroom Connections: On the Line can be purchased in EPUB and PDF versions as well as in print. Intermediate-level teachers seeking a novel for a class book study that deals with current diversity issues (especially LGBTQ+ rights and gender inclusion) in a witty and engaging way should definitely consider this work.
Review by George Sheppard.
This review is featured in Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Fall 2022 issue.