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Dream On ISBN: 9781842995501
Rai, Bali
Published by Barrington Stoke, 2007
At the older end of our age range, this gritty, believable and short novel will appeal to kids who love football, particularly those with an Asian background who will enjoy the idiomatic English and the Midlands setting. Baljit, known as Jit to his chums, is from a Sikh family who run a fish and chip shop with Indian food included, and Baljit's father wants him to become a doctor or lawyer or something important. All Baljit wants to do is play football professionally, and he knows he is good. His parents want him to work in the shop after school most days, and he is only allowed off on one afternoon a week and on Saturday mornings to do his own thing. He chaffs under this regime, and while he loves his parents and understands their need to make money to live on, there is real tension in the family. This becomes a big problem when Baljit and his two best friends are put in for trials with Leicester City, and he knows only too well that he won't be allowed to go. He lies that there is to be a school trip to London, and his parents, all too pleased at a good opportunity to visit museums, agree readily. The trials go well, and both Baljit and his friends get second trials with several major football clubs, among them Liverpool, Baljit's favourite team. He is ecstatic but what will his parents say? They are not happy about the lie, but they are very proud of their son, and all is well in the family. Along the way in the story is quite a bit of detail about very serious racism. The boys are chased through a park at one point by enraged white boys who are out for serious damage, and during the trials, one of Baljit's friends is badly hurt by a particular bully. The feel of the story is realistic in its setting, and as this is about boys of 14 or 15, there is a bit of girl interest too. Mainly, though, it is about a real love of football, and it will be read with lots of interest by football lovers everywhere!
Age: 11+