Skip to content
Reviewed by Rebecca Griffin, Teacher, Discovery School
Opening sentence
Being the new girl makes Freya feel like a dark cloud on a summer's day.
This verse novel presents a captivating narrative and blends basketball into the story, making it an enjoyable and relatable element for sports enthusiasts.

In each section of the book, the author skillfully transforms basketball terms into general definitions, reflecting the central character, Freya’s, challenges in each part. For instance, a ‘steal’ happens in her initial encounter with two girls from her new basketball team.

Freya’s passion for basketball and her quest to build friendships within the team form a solid foundation for the narrative. Keeping a tally of her triumphs and setbacks against Abbotsford - FREYA 6, ABBOTSFORD 10 - adds a competitive edge to the story.

The book explores relevant themes of bullying, the desire to fit in, separated parents, facing fears and coping with the challenges of relocating to a new city. It makes it a poignant read for young audiences. Readers who have experienced similar situations can empathise and find resonance with the characters.

The novel thoughtfully incorporates technology; with Freya joining chat groups and texting old friends and family, reflecting the realities of modern communication and making it relatable to contemporary readers.

Overall, this well-structured verse novel with its unique blend of basketball, relatable themes, and modern elements promises an engaging and meaningful read for early adolescent minds.
Author & Illustrator: Jessica Cruickshank
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
ISBN: 978-1-76118-013-2
Format: Paperback
Publication: May 2023
Ages: 11-14
Themes: Change, bullying, belonging, friendship, fears, sport