No Ordinary Season

Father & Son Publishing  2017


When its cross country coach dies of a stroke, the high school of River Bend is in for a big change. The replacement who’s finally hired is named C. R. Simon; it’s a shock to everyone to learn that this person is not only a woman, but also Jewish.

The ensuing story is narrated by Cassie, a senior at the high school. Cassie is immediately designated by the new coach as the captain of the team. This gives her leadership responsibility and the message that the team must work together to win. Ms. Simon applies her own no-nonsense approach to whip the team into shape. Cassie, who had always thought of herself as mediocre in sports and in life more generally, is surprised to learn that things can be different if she receives the right coaching.

No book about high school young women could fail to include a love focus, and Cassie chooses the high school basketball star as the man she wants in her life. The ups and downs of their interactions are not only interesting to follow, but also give readers insight into the challenges of any relationship.

The climax of the book occurs when the coach is accused of “inappropriate behavior,” and readers will eagerly await the resolution of this explosive situation.

The main themes of the book include how gossip can destroy reputations, how self-confidence can be shaped by a competent mentor, how appearances can be deceptive, how hard work can lead to success; and how organization, professional leadership, and good people can change outcomes. The novel also deals with the presence of small-town bigotry and anti-Semitism. These are quite a few heavy ideas for one book, but the author addresses them with skill—and in doing so demonstrates the development of maturity, relationship-building, and trust.

Recommended for ages 12 to 16.

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