Club Kick Out!: Into the Ring

HarperAlley. (Club Kick Out: Bk. 1). Sept. 2023. 224p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780063116467; pap. $15.99. ISBN 9780063116450.
Gr 3-8–When the new principal at Custard Creek Middle School bans all extra-curricular activities except football and its cheering squad, Sasha and her friends mourn the loss of their various passion clubs: game scripting, theater, and art, chief among them. In Mided’s energetic imagery and equally peppy pacing, the kids decide to develop a wrestling team that combines their interests in plot and character development, costuming, and self-expression. Discovering that the school nurse is herself a pro-wrestler makes identifying a coach the necessary added tool with which they make their case to the principal—and win it on a probationary basis. Friendships, personalities, and setbacks are as diverse and credible as the kids’ appearances of various body types, genders, and skin tones.
VERDICT This bright and engaging graphic novel will speak to middle graders needs for personal recognition and group acceptance, all while introducing them to the behind-the-scenes veracity of staged wrestling.

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