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Write On Ottawa: With smashing plot and ace tennis scenes YA novel is a fun read

By Alejandro Bustos on October 2, 2013

The fundraising auction at the Bytowne Tennis Club was going to be perfect.  Among the precious items on the catalog list was a 1970s vintage racket autographed by Björn Borg, one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

So when teenage Connor Trent discovers that his beloved tennis club has been broken into, and that the auction items have been destroyed, including the prized Borg racket, his heart is broken.

“Who would do a thing like this?” asks Connor’s friend Maddy as she sees the destruction.  The search for this answer forms the basis of local author Kate Jaimet’s new novel Break Point, published by Orca Book Publishers as part of their Orca Sports series.

Filled with fast-paced action and great tennis scenes, this easy to read book is aimed at those aged 10 to 18.  I read it in about three hours, and when I fished I realized that time had just flown by.

If you’re a parent who wants to encourage your children to read, or a teenager looking for an entertaining sports-related story to pass an afternoon, then you should pick up this book.

The plot revolves around Connor, a teenage tennis player at the fictional Bytowne Tennis Club in Ottawa.  A hardworking athlete, the working class Connor clashes with Rex Hunter, a rich kid and fellow club member who is ranked higher than him.

While dreaming of ways to defeat Rex on the tennis court, Connor also has to worry about the possibility that his beloved club will be shut down, due to a heavy debt load that it can no longer pay. The fundraising auction was supposed to raise funds to help pay down this debt.  Now that the auction has been cancelled, however, things are starting to look bleak.

Determined to prevent the closing of their cherished tennis club, Connor and Maddy begin to investigate.  Their gut feeling tells them that the break in was not accidental, and that the vandals deliberately targeted the club, perhaps with the intent to shut it down.

Kate Jaimet

Kate Jaimet

At its best, this book is a page turner that combines a good mystery story with fast-paced sports action.  The chapters that describe different tennis matches are particularly well written, with the reader feeling as if they are standing right next to the court.

If you love tennis (like me) the scenes outlining the back-and-forth volleys and rushes towards the net are a joy to read.  Even if you are not a huge tennis fan, or for that matter a sports enthusiast, these scenes are still a lot of fun.

On the other hand, the universe presented in this book is pretty black and white.  The good guys are really good, and the bad guys are awful.  Nuance is not something you will find here.  That being said, teenagers are not particularly known for being subtle, so the either/or world in this novel is not too much of a stretch from reality.