Cut from AAA hockey last season, seventh-grader Hudson Pickle needs to make the basketball team this year. But, after having an asthma attack at the first tryout, his chances aren't looking good. His former best friend, Trevor, is also trying out. But he won't even speak to Hudson since Hudson had all but ignored him while concentrating on hockey. And as if that wasn't bad enough, now his uncle Vic --- who's been staying with him and his mom since a suspicious fire at his house ---has been diagnosed with a genetic respiratory illness. Could this mean Hudson has something worse than asthma? And while this DNA mystery is being unraveled, will the truth about what happened to his father finally be revealed as well?Yolanda Ridge's compelling coming-of-age novel for middle-graders combines humor, action and mystery --- with a dose of genetic science to keep things interesting. It offers a rich reading experience with complex characters and a multilayered story. Thoughtful, authentic and likeable Hudson will inspire readers with the grit and perseverance he relies on to get through his difficulties, and the self-deprecating wit he uses to manage middle-school social dynamics, evolving friendships and a changing family structure. There are also multiple mysteries running throughout the story --- involving Hudson's father, his uncle and his own health --- that are sure to keep the pages turning.
Yolanda Ridge worked as a genetic counselor before becoming a writer --- a background which helped to inform and enrich Hudson Pickle's character and story. She is also the author of two previous middle grade novels, Trouble in the Trees and Road Block. She lives in Rossland, British Columbia.
Fans of novels about sports and family drama, such as Kwame Alexander's The Crossover, will appreciate this realistic tale.--School Library Journal