Spring 2019 Kids Indie Next List
“Nikki on the Line thrums with life, energy, and adolescent self-discovery. With a relatable, driven protagonist, Roberts deftly weaves a story of realistic struggles through the themes of genetic gifts and curses — and their complicated relationship with who we choose to be. Fun and perfectly balanced, this book is impossible to put down, even for readers who know nothing about basketball.”
— Heather Smith, Linden Tree Children's Books, Los Altos, CA
Thirteen-year-old Nikki Doyle's dreams of becoming a basketball great feel within reach when she's selected to play on an elite-level club team. But in a league with taller, stronger, and faster girls, Nikki suddenly isn't the best point guard. In fact, she's no longer a point guard at all, which leaves her struggling to figure out who she is and how she fits in.
The stress piles on as Nikki's best friend spends more and more time with another girl on the team, and when her science teacher assigns a family tree project that will be impossible to complete unless Nikki reveals her most embarrassing secret. As if that's not enough to deal with, to cover the costs of her new team, Nikki has agreed to take care of her annoying younger brother after school to save money on childcare.
As the stakes rise on the basketball court, at school, and at home, Nikki's confidence plummets. Can she learn to compete at this new, higher level? And how hard is she willing to work to find out?
About the Author
Barbara Carroll Roberts is a graduate of Hamline University's Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program. She played competitive sports in high school and always wished there had been books in her library about athletic girls. That desire -- and the realization that there still aren't many books about girls who truly love sports -- inspired her to write this book. She lives outside of Washington, D.C. with her family and their many pets. This is her first novel. You can visit her at barbaracarrollroberts.com.
"In Nikki on the Line, Barbara Carroll Roberts crafts a compelling story of a girl trying to fit the pieces of her identity together at a time when everything around her is shifting. Layered, compassionate, and utterly engrossing."—Anne Ursu, author of The Lost Girl
"This charming and heartfelt debut is perfect for fans of Ali Benjamin and Kwame Alexander."
"This accessible coming-of-age story comes alive in its descriptions of basketball and the game's resulting life lessons."—School Library Journal
"An optimistic middle-grade novel melding heartfelt realistic fiction and sports fare."—Kirkus Reviews
"Readers who enjoy sports stories as well as those who enjoy realistic fiction will instantly connect with Nikki."—School Library Connection