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In Hoops: Elle of the Ball, Elle is the type of girl who would prefer basketball over dancing. Especially since she’s six feet tall at age twelve. And, for the past few months, this has worked out fine for her. But, when the new school year comes, and her new coach sees her height, she has high hopes for Elle to be a great player in a new position. Unfortunately, Elle isn’t used to being so tall! She keeps on tripping over her feet and stumbling. Not only does she have to amp up her basketball practice, but when the school announces their annual mandatory cotillion, Elle is in for a hard time. Wait, what? She is going to be dancing for a grade with a boy much shorter than her, and she’ll be performing in front of the whole school? Elle must find a way to keep up her passion for basketball and learn to please others as well.

I think the author of this book, Elena Delle Donne, WNBA MVP and Olympic Gold Medalist, wrote Hoops: Elle of the Ball because Delle Donne used to be just like Elle and wanted to express how she felt and show how hard she worked to be a professional basketball player. Being a WNBA MVP and Olympic gold medalist, she was predictably very into basketball at Elle’s age. She might have been six feet tall at Elle’s age, and because of this, she could have been upset by people expecting her to rule the court.

I wonder if it is a coincidence that Elle’s name is kind of a combination of the author’s name, Elena and Delle?

This book gave me insight into different kinds of girls, how the pull of relationships and school struggles affect for girls of all ages and how everyone experiences bullying. I also learned a little about basketball.

Delle Donne does her best to bring out the characters and use dialogue to make the book more interesting. However, if you appreciate more in-depth and thought provoking books, this book is most likely not for you because Elle of the Ball did not necessarily have a plot that made you care about the characters, a pronounced climax, and it did not suck me into Elle’s life. Unfortunately, I think Delle Donne's incredible skill and talent on the basketball court did not translate well to the pages of her book. But, if you really like basketball or are looking for a fun quick-read, perhaps you can give it a shot.

However, Elle of the Ball is a fun and entertaining quick read for basketball lovers everywhere, and Elle’s basketball adventures will hopefully continue on in the Hoops series for everyone who wants more books about girls and basketball, which we don’t often see nowadays.

Hoops: Elle of the Ball by Elena Della Donne. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. Buy the book here and support Children's Art Foundation-Stone Soup in the process!

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