Margin Notes



This debut YA novel from Carrie S. Allen, Michigan vs. The Boys, is so compelling that it rockets this author to the top of my automatic reads list. There are so many good reasons that you would want this book on the shelf in your classroom. In fact, it won’t stay on the shelf for long. The protagonist, Michigan, shows determination and strength of character as she grows as an athlete and a young woman. She learns what it truly means to be a brave.

I opened the cover of this novel tentatively, thinking it was a book about hockey. I’m not much into hockey. But by the end of chapter two, I was committed. While there is a central focus on the sport that will appeal to athletes in general, the familiar conflict of women needing to fight for equality in every aspect of life permeated the narrative. This, and Michigan’s tenacity, is what drew me in. Michigan just wanted what every talented and aspiring young athlete wants, a chance to play. Her team was scrapped due to budget cuts and after exhausting the other pitiful options, she chose to secretly try out for the boys team. She had the skill, the grit, and the determination; but, everything else seemed to be against her.

This book would appeal to a wide variety of readers, but I can’t wait to recommend it to the hockey players and fans in my classroom, as well as those students with a strong sense of social justice. I’m guessing that once one or two students read it, it will continue to get passed around. You might want two copies.

Debbie Grillo teaches English and Growth, Goals & Grit at Leo Hayes High School. If you are looking for her on evenings and weekends she can be found either walking the trails  of Fredericton while listen to her latest audiobook or reading in the comfiest chair in the house.

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