First Round Lottery Pick by Franklin White
Langston Holiday is one of the best basketball players Cincinnati has ever seen. He has been playing on the courts of Poindexter Village, aka The Vil, since he was four years old and is now the number one recruit in the nation. But instead of heading off to college for a least a year before he can turn pro, he’s opted to sign up for the overseas draft and play three years in Europe, before going pro in the U.S. He should be in line for a multi-million year contract, and suddenly things are changing for him in the hood. His best friend Jalen will support him in whatever he wants to do, and his mom reluctantly agrees that it’s his decision, even though he will be giving up the chance at a free ride to UCLA, which she’s always dreamed of for him. His girlfriend Tori adores him and supports him in whatever he wants to do. His estranged father tries to tell him how important the college education would be for him, but he blows him off when his partner makes a sarcastic remark about Langston’s mom and takes off in anger.
Now The Vil is in an uproar at his news, some with envy and some folks trying to figure out how to cash in on Langston’s good fortune. His girl-on-the-side Katrina won’t stop chasing him around the hood. Toy, a former local ball player himself, has been badgering Langston for six months to sign with him and his newly formed sports agency. Sadly, things never go as smoothly as one would like, especially in a hood like the Vil where everyone is up in everyone else’s business, and some folks are trying to capitalize on other’s good fortune to make their own money. There are drug deals, a kidnapping, blackmail and more.
This page-turner deserves a play in all YA collections with a strong interest in urban drama. The characters are solid, the action non-stop, and the writing decent. I especially appreciated the the writer White went out of his way to avoid constant swearing, while still keeping the language realistic and authentic. I found the ending a disappointment, but that’s just my opinion.