Chronicle Books Free Throws, Friendship, and Other Things We Fouled Up
Chronicle Books Free Throws, Friendship, and Other Things We Fouled Up

Free Throws, Friendship, and Other Things We Fouled Up

By Jenn Bishop


Publication Date: October 24, 2023

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Ages 10 to 14, Grades 5 to 9

Competitive basketball takes center court in this fast-paced novel about two girls finding the truth about themselves—and their families—against the backdrop of middle school and college hoops.

Cincinnati, Ohio, lives and dies by college basketball, with two elite Division I rivals separated by a mere three miles. Rory’s dad just secured a new coaching gig at the University of Cincinnati, so it means yet another school and move for her, only this time to her dad’s hometown. Rory’s life revolves around basketball; she’s never had a close friend outside of it. Could this be a chance for a fresh start?

Abby has always lived in Cincinnati, where her dad grew up playing ball and now coaches at Xavier University. But Abby has recently retreated from basketball after a frustrating season that left her confidence in shambles. This year, she finds herself on the outside looking in when it comes to her former teammates, and she could seriously use a new friend.    

The coaches' daughters connect over their shared love of the game when Abby chaperones Rory on her first day of school. But when Abby’s dad practically forbids their friendship because of something that happened between him and Rory’s dad when they were younger, Abby and Rory have no choice but to move their budding friendship underground.

Can the two of them get to the bottom of what went down between their dads in the 1990s before history repeats itself?

SPORTS BOOKS FOR GIRLS: This book stars two protagonists who love basketball in their own ways and features a spectrum of characters (including a basketball-playing nun!) who engage with the sport individually and distinctly. The breadth of athletes reflects the reality of sports for kids and young teens, making the story appealing to a wide range of readers.

AUTHENTIC & ACCESSIBLE NARRATIVE: Reluctant readers and book lovers alike will find a genuine story that conveys real emotions, family struggles, and insecurities driven by the tension of middle school sports.

FAST-PACED AND FUN: Unraveling like a mystery but moving like a he-said, she-said, and traveling through time and generations, this book has the right level of high stakes to keep readers hooked to the end.

ENDURING LEGACY OF BASKETBALL: As one of the world’s most popular sports, basketball is significant to people of all ages and carries a sense of nostalgia across generations. It’s played in schools across the globe, on official sports teams and in gym class, and brings members of communities together in parks and recreational centers. This sport’s positive influence on overlooked communities and students from economically impacted backgrounds also speaks to the importance of basketball at a social level.

Perfect for:Fans of basketballAnyone looking for basketball books for teens and tweensParents, teachers, and librarians seeking positive children's friendship booksReaders of YA sports novels like The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang, and Knockout by K.A. Holt

About the Author

Jenn Bishop is also the author of four other novels for young readers, including the Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner Things You Can’t Say. Her books have been named Junior Library Guild selections and Bank Street College of Education best books and have been finalists for state book awards. She currently calls Cincinnati, Ohio, home. What team do you think she roots for? Visit her online at

Format: Hardcover

Length: 304 pages

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Publication Date: October 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781797215617

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