Sunday, April 20, 2014

Rocket Man, by Jan L. Coates

As an unremarkable eight-grade student and the middle child in a busy family, Bob “the Blob” Prescott feels almost like he’s turned into Mr. Invisible.  Even when Bob’s out on the court playing the game that he loves, he’s constantly overshadowed by the basketball legends of his father and his older brother James.  When Bob finally earns himself a backup spot on the Division 1 team, his accomplishments just don’t seem to matter much in comparison to his Dad’s long battle with cancer.  At the height of the basketball season, Bob’s put to the ultimate test when he agrees to design a charity basketball game in order to raise money for cancer research.  Will he be able to succeed in the spotlight, or is Bob doomed to remain “Mr. Invisible” forever?

One thing that I really enjoyed about “Rocket Man” is how the book relies very heavily on the sport of basketball as a setting, but the actual story itself is about the relationships between the characters.  This is not a book about basketball, even though the sport is something that has always served to bring Bob, his father and his brother closer together.   Whenever the Prescott men have to deal with things that are kind of difficult to talk about, they use pick-up games of basketball as a way to bond without having to say a single word.  In the same way, using the sport of basketball as a setting for a strong, emotional narrative is a great way to draw in a reading audience of young men.  There’s some very cool storytelling going on here, guys!

There’s no way that I’m going to give away the ending in this review, but I really appreciated the way the author kind of left things open.   There are very few things in life that we can really be certain, so I appreciated the “realistic” feeling that the book left me with.  We’re all going to face different kinds of challenges, but what really matters is how we respond to them.  Bob might not be able to do a whole lot about his Dad’s fight with cancer, but he is doing everything within his power to be supportive and strong.  Sometimes, even when a set of circumstances might be completely beyond your control, it’s still possible to make an impact in a way that you never could have imagined…


  1. Thanks so much for reading and "getting" my book. Best of luck with your blog.

  2. Jan, thank you for writing it!