Saturday, June 30, 2018

Elle of the Ball by Elena Delle Donne - OPTIONAL

Elle of the Ball by Elena Delle Donne, 148 pages. Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers. 2018. $14. 

Content: G.


Elle is your average seventh-grader, except for one thing—she is six feet tall! She grew so much over the summer that her new coach makes her the starting center of their basketball team. But Elle, like every seventh-grader, is struggling to feel comfortable in her own body. Her new height has her tripping over her feet and feeling unusually clumsy on the court. What’s worse, the all-school cotillion is coming up, and formal dancing is required. That means wearing a dress and itchy tights, performing in front of the whole school, and dancing with a boy who was bound to be shorter than her—all things that give her nightmares.

This book has an engaging, conversational voice that makes it easy to read. Elle’s middle school struggles are fairly universal and easy to relate to, even if you aren’t overly tall. However, the book lags a bit with the detailed play-by-play action in the basketball practices and games. There is also a strong pro-feminist mindset throughout the book, which isn’t a bad thing, but it didn’t integrate well into the book overall. It felt too obvious and moralistic. This book seems to be directed at a niche audience—girls who love sports—and probably wouldn’t have a broad appeal.

Chris, K-8 Librarian

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