Rez Ball

Rez Ball cover
Rez Ball by Byron Graves

By Byron Graves
Heartdrum/HarperCollins, 2023
368 pages

Age 12 and older

Tre Brun is entering his sophomore year of high school on the Red Lake Ojibwe reservation in Minnesota. Tre has been training hard all summer in hopes of making his school’s varsity basketball team. His long-term dreams are big: Division 1 college ball and then the NBA. But Tre is playing for more than just himself: His older brother, Jaxon, was a star player on the team before dying in a car accident earlier in the year. Tre doesn’t feel pressure to be Jaxon, but as he continues to grieve along with his parents, he wants to honor his brother with his play. Basketball is the constant in this story that follows Tre from late summer through the subsequent school year as he and his teammates–an all-Native team–become a force to be reckoned with and work their way to the state championship. But basketball is not Tre’s only interest in this multidimensional story; he loves comics and video games, too, and his relationships with his family members, teammates, and friends, including a new girl at school with whom he connects and would like to be more than friends, are essential, engaging parts of the narrative. The sports action is compelling, and following this underdog team on their journey is immensely satisfying. The characters and relationships shine in quieter moments, while the games themselves underscore how important the team’s efforts are to their Red Lake community. ©2023 Cooperative Children’s Book Center