Review: After the Shot Drops by Randy Ribay

After The Shot DropsTitle: After the Shot Drops
Author: Randy Ribay
Genres: Young adult contemporary
Goodreads

A powerful novel about friendship, basketball, and one teen’s mission to create a better life for his family in the tradition of Jason Reynolds, Matt de la Pena, and Walter Dean Myers.     

Bunny and Nasir have been best friends forever, but when Bunny accepts an athletic scholarship across town, Nasir feels betrayed. While Bunny tries to fit in with his new, privileged peers, Nasir spends more time with his cousin, Wallace, who is being evicted. Nasir can’t help but wonder why the neighborhood is falling over itself to help Bunny when Wallace is in trouble.

When Wallace makes a bet against Bunny, Nasir is faced with an impossible decision—maybe a dangerous one.
Told from alternating perspectives, After the Shot Drops is a heart-pounding story about the responsibilities of great talent and the importance of compassion.

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I was send a copy of this book for review. This does not influence my opinion of the book in any way.

I was incredibly excited about this book because the concept reminded me a little of the Track series by Ryan Reynolds and the Booked series by Kwame Alexander, but a young adult version. I absolutely adore Ryan Reynolds and Kwame Alexander their books so Randy Ribay had a lot to live up to, but After the Shot Drops didn’t disappoint. At all.

The book follows two different points of view. We follow Bunny, a guy who’s incredibly good at basketball, and recently transferred to a more prestigious school so he might have a chance to be able to provide for his family in the future by playing basketball. We also follow Nasir, who used to be Bunny’s best friend but he felt very betrayed by Bunny’s sudden decision to change schools, so he isn’t talking to him. He also tries to help his cousin Wallace, who is about to be evicted and is getting himself in trouble.

One of the strongest parts of the book were definitely the characters. They’re all incredibly complex and well-rounded, and it was incredibly easy to love them and root for them, even if they might not always make the best decisions. This was also one of the reasons why I couldn’t put the book down; I had to know what was going to happen, and whether the characters were going to be okay.

The book also tackled a lot of different important and difficult topics, like privilege, loyalty, violence and friendship in an amazing and powerful way. The book is intense and goes to very dark places, but it does it in a very sensitive way, which I appreciated.

The author definitely did an amazing job. I mean, if you can make me feel incredibly nervous and make my heart race during sports-related scenes you’ve definitely done something right, because that doesn’t happen often. I’m super curious to see what he’ll write next, and I’ll definitely pick it up.

So, would I say that this book is just as good as the Tracked and Booked series? No. And that’s because, while they both deal with sports and social issues, they’re very different. After the Shot Drops feels a lot darker, but it’s good. Really good. And I would definitely recommend it.

(Trigger warnings: gun violence, blood, broken bones, betting/gambling, cheating, drinking/being drunk)

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