Liza Ketchum author educator
Twelve Days in August
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Twelve Days in August

 

About the Book

Sixteen-year-old Todd O’Connor feels life is going his way, until soccer star Alex Beekman and his beautiful twin sister, Rita, move to town. Alex threatens Todd’s position on the soccer team, as well as that of Randy Tovitch, the star striker. Randy organizes a nasty name-calling and bullying campaign as he tries to force Alex off the team. Todd finds himself stuck in an agonizing dilemma. Should he stick up for Alex, or cave in to peer pressure? His decision affects his own life as well as the future of the team.

Awards and Distinctions

ALA Books for the Reluctant Reader
Project 21 Book, 1996
New York Public Library Books for the Teenage, 1994
Oklahoma Sequoyah Award master list, 1995
National Conference of Christians and Jews Human Family, Learning to Live Together list, 1993

Reviews

starred review“Sports fiction gains a new dimension with this soccer-based tale of gay prejudice, hypocrisy, and competition … The theme of this novel emerges with subtlety and power through events and dialogue.” (School Library Journal, starred review)

“…terrific pacing and a real sense of what makes people tick.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Behind the Book

FAQ: What inspired you to write this story?

When my sons were in high school, I heard about a player who was forced off the J.V. soccer team by his teammates. They teased him about being gay. Later, I learned that the coach had ignored his players’ cruel behavior. I have always been upset by prejudice and injustice. I also love the game of soccer, and I decided that a story that took place on the soccer field would allow me to explore the issues of fairness, peer pressure, and courage that were in my mind as I started the story.

FAQ: Was it hard to write a novel from a boy’s point of view?

Not as difficult as I expected. Todd was a fairly important character in my previous YA novel, Fire in the Heart. And as the mother of two sons, I had spent many years listening while my teenage sons and their friends discussed music, friendship, cars, school, soccer and skiing, politics, girls, movies, and books. But I was surprised to hear Todd’s voice in my head, speaking in the first person. It was as if he were tugging at my sleeve, saying “Hey, listen. I’ve got this story to tell. Write it down, will you?” So I did.

   
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