Kids: The Turnover

By: Mike Lupica

Review By: Dilan M

Celebrated sports fiction author Mike Lupica tells a story of what's right, on the court and off.


Lucas Winston respects and loves his grandfather, Sam Winston. His dad died of cancer right after Lucas was born, so his Gramps is the closest thing to a father he has. Lucas cares deeply about Gramps. They both love basketball, and that's familiar ground for them. Gramps coaches Lucas's sixth-grade basketball team, the Claremont Wolves, and Lucas loves it. Lucas and Ryan Moretti, his best friend, are both on the wolves, and Gramps is the best coach and knows the game inside-out. Gramps also frequently comes over for dinner with Lucas and his mom, and they watch basketball on TV. When Mr. Collin, his English teacher, tells them to write a biography about someone he admires, Lucas is pumped. He knows exactly who he's going to write about: Gramps. But Gramps is reluctant. He seems unsure and waves it off. He wants Lucas to pick someone else, someone worthy of Lucas's admiration. Lucas can't understand why. He and Gramps always talk about basketball, but they never talk about Gramps. Lucas doesn't know what he was like or what he did when he was younger and wants to know. He asks his mom and Maria Chen, his other best friend, and his mom thinks it's because Gramps is getting old and doesn't really want to revisit the past. Lucas does some digging in the attic and finds an old photograph of two basketball players, one named Joe and the other Tommy. He finds out that Joe is actually Gramps, and the mystery grows. He can't contain his curiosity, and when he sneaks back into the attic and finds a letter his dad wrote to Gramps, he makes a shocking discovery about Gramps, the man who he respected in every way. He was involved in a point-shaving scandal. He cheated, and he never told Lucas. He never mentioned anything about his past, his life growing up in California, or his college. He tried to hide Joe Samuels and became Sam Winston. Lucas's mom tries to comfort him, saying that his Gramps still loves him and is an amazing man. But Lucas is hurt and disappointed. How will this impact the basketball season, as well as Lucas and Gramp's relationship? Read the book to find out.