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How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy


How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy

Thirteen-year-old Lamar Washington spends every free moment he can at Striker's Bowling Paradise. He's the best --- or at least he believes he is. That would include wiping the floor with his best friend, Sergio, and bowling strike after strike to impress all the ladies. Lamar loves bowling because it's the one sport in which his asthma won't act up, and his hero, Bubba Sanders, just happens to be the maddest, baddest, most spectacular bowler ever. When Lamar is at Striker's, worries and everyday distractions seem to float away and disappear. These worries would include everything that's happening back on the homefront.

Lamar's older brother, Xavier, is known to Coffin, Indiana, as "Xavier the basketball savior." Xavier has put Coffin, Indiana, on the map thanks to his amazing basketball skills, and all Lamar can do is sit back and watch as his brother relishes his time in the spotlight. Normally he is too focused on bowling to really care about Xavier's pompous attitude, but lately Xavier has been bugging him more and more about how he'll amount to nothing and that bowling has no future. To add to Lamar's aggravation, his dad also seems focused solely on Xavier and appears to brush him aside more often than not. Lamar isn't sure how to get his father's attention, but he's sick of coming in second to his older brother.

Thankfully, Lamar has three big distractions to take his mind off of things. First, he learns that Bubba Sanders is going to be stopping in Coffin for a special visit. Four lucky kids will get the chance to win a new bowling ball specially designed by Bubba if they win an essay contest. Second, after striking out with the ladies before, he finally gets the guts to ask a girl out. Makeda seemingly grew up overnight, and Lamar can't believe he found himself such a fine specimen. Finally, he potentially lands himself the best gig ever. Known juvenile-detention offender Billy Jenks offers Lamar the ultimate deal: make a lot of money by hustling at the bowling alley. At first Lamar is unsure of Billy's business venture, but after the first wad of money rolls in, he just can't say no.

With all the pieces in the right place, Lamar finally feels like he's on top. Then the world comes crashing down. Xavier blows up unexpectedly at Lamar, and the fight ends badly. Lamar wants nothing more than to get revenge and knows just the person who can help --- Billy Jenks. Billy proposes one doozie of a plan that will ruin Xavier's basketball career, and Lamar can't resist the temptation. One thing he didn't plan on, though, was the consequences that would arise from such a bad prank. Lamar will have to do a lot more than apologizing to make things right with all the people he truly cares about.

HOW LAMAR'S BAD PRANK WON A BUBBA-SIZED TROPHY is as great as the title. It's not often you find a good story in which the main character spends his time in funny-looking shoes throwing a ball to knock down pins. Crystal Allen really takes the idea of "it takes a village to raise a child" and extends it into a realistic, relatable way. The consequences for Lamar's bad prank are very real, and as Lamar suffers, the whole community suffers as well. This book is about redemption, though, and how it's not always easy to be a person of integrity.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on February 22, 2011

How Lamar's Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy
by Crystal Allen

  • Publication Date: August 14, 2012
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Balzer + Bray
  • ISBN-10: 0061992739
  • ISBN-13: 9780061992735