Penny Margarita, a determined teenage girl, harbors dreams of following in her older brother David’s footsteps and pursuing a football career. Growing up in his shadow, along with her twin brother Dante, she idolizes David and his athletic prowess. Penny’s ultimate goal is to secure the quarterback position on her high school team, and with the guidance she received from David years ago, her dreams are within reach.
Penny has great support in her corner; Dante’s friend Louis recognizes her abilities and potential, and her dad sees the light of fire in her eyes and offers to bankroll her training. While Penny is fortunate to have these allies, not everyone shares her enthusiasm for football. Dante and some of his friends and teammates often tease her about her aspirations. Added to the local animosity, a serial kidnapper has targeted her to grace his capture list.
Penny’s tenacity isn’t limited to the field. While her stellar football season is heading towards championships and college offers, she and Louis take it upon themselves to track down the kidnapper before he can harm her. Collaborating with law enforcement and occasionally working outside their circle, Penny and Louis zero in on local mysteries and unknowns that make for a riveting tale. Gridirons, delis, and swamps capture the imagery of Indialantic and help immerse the reader into a distinctly Florida experience.
The story unfolds swiftly and captivates the reader with its likable characters. Penny, the protagonist, is a well-rounded character who exhibits intelligence and emotion, making her relatable and easy to connect with. Given the brevity of the story, glimpses of the secondary characters add descriptive depth to their personalities. Louis’ strained relationship with his absent father and Dante’s regrets concerning David contribute to the complexity of these characters.
Even Kerry’s hip issue adds a surprising touch of humanity to a character who might otherwise be seen as unstable.
Overall, this book is an enjoyable tale with characters worth rooting for.
– The Moving Words Review
Official Entry: The Most Moving Book Award, Jan. 3, 2024