Stepping Up
Stepping Up
Stepping Up
Mark Fink
Ernie Dolan, 14, is plagued by the curse of the average. Nothing about him stands out-except his stutter. Only best friend Mike Rivers sees him at his best. Then, at a competitive basketball camp, Mike excels while Ernie is-average. When Ernie blunders in a pickup game, Rick Craig, obnoxious camp hotshot, nicknames him "Choke." This sets the tone for Ernie's first week. But he soon finds three new allies: bunkmate Albert Mann, a goofy genius and practical joker; Coach Petrovich, a 6'8" Russian who mangles the English language; and camp director Tim Sanders, the mentor every kid needs. Soon, Ernie and Mike are on the outs, as Mike hangs with Craig and the jocks. But things change dramatically as Ernie morphs from outcast to hero, risking his life to save three campmates from near tragedy. Ernie's funny, heartwarming story unfolds against the backdrop of exciting, authentic basketball action, while touching on typical teen issues of friendship and the near-deadly consequences of peer pressure.

Book Details


  • Fiction
  • Juvenile Fiction
  • Sports

Age Level: 

  • 12 and up
Profile Picture

This book is about a 14-year-old boy who goes to a summer basketball camp. Ernie Dolan talks with a lisp and is the average guy. He struggles with the fact that his best friend, Mike Rivers, is better than he is in more than one thing. Sports, girls, and all the things in between seem to come to Mike like breathing, and that bugs Ernie. At the beginning of the plot, Ernie feels like a geek and feels out of place next to his sporty BFF. But, by the end of camp, he feels like a man who has reached his full potential.

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