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When high school basketball prodigy Bunny Thompson leaves his neighborhood high school to attend an affluent private school on scholarship, he’s looking for a way to finance his future college career. He never dreamed it would mean his best friend, Nasir, would stop speaking to him, and he didn’t realize how alone he would feel as one of the few black students there.

Nasir faces his own problems, trying to help his cousin Wallace. Wallace’s desperate living situation is driving him to ever more desperate acts, and he is dragging Nasir into it. Nasir wants to be supportive of his cousin, but he has to decide how far he is willing to go to do that.

As Bunny and Nasir try to navigate the complicated path of their sophomore year, they have to decide if their friendship is worth the hard work of learning to trust each other again.

Author Randy Ribay skillfully injects parental wisdom while letting Bunny and Nasir tell their own stories in alternating voices. Their parents wisely counsel them to try to understand each other’s position. Bunny and Nasir each have loving, supportive parents who are actively guiding their children as best they can.

This engrossing and thoughtful young adult novel addresses the realities of racial, class, and economic differences, as well as the push and pull of friends and family when teens are working out who they are. The problems these young men are dealing with are difficult, and the stakes feel real to the reader. Between the suspenseful plot and the excitement of the basketball games, After the Shot Drops is hard to put down. Due to some language, I’d recommend this for high school and up. (HMH)

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