Nikki on the Line
While Nikki on the Line is about a young girl and her love of basketball, every aspect of Nikki Doyle’s life feels like it’s on the line. She’s trying out for the elite basketball team and worries she not tall enough, not good enough. Then after she makes the team, she worries her single mom can’t pay for it, so she’s anguished about how to come up with a way to make money. At the same time, she has to complete a science project about her family tree and is mortified with embarrassment because her father is a sperm donor. She doesn’t want the whole school to know! It’s a modern story, to be sure, and the stresses of eighth grade are real and likely to be understood by readers of a similar age. Nikki struggles with balancing schoolwork, team activities and friendship, and no one is offering her an easy way out. She’s got to manage her time and put in the effort.
Nikki is nicely narrated by Christine Lakin, a pro in the audio book world who makes Nikki’s mom sound sincere, Nikki’s science teacher understanding and Nikki’s basketball teammates sympathetic. Nikki herself comes across as a thoughtful and likeable 13-year-old who is navigating daily life as best she can. She’s a good character, and the lessons she learns are valuable for the listener. Nikki – and Nikki – are winners.
Ann Oldenburg ©2019 Parents’ Choice
Ann Oldenburg, lecturer and interim director of the journalism program at Georgetown University, writes about television, food, workplace issues and other pop culture topics. A University of Florida Gator with a degree in journalism, she began her career at The Washington Post and spent more than two decades with USA TODAY. She and her husband have three sons and live in McLean, Virginia.