Posted in books

Book Review: More Than Rivals

This is the perfect time for this book. It’s not just about basketball, or two boys growing up in a small town in Tennessee in the 1960s, or a championship basketball game in 1970 between two schools – one mostly white and one black – that are being forced to integrate while closing down the black school. This is about people’s fears and prejudices, and how that affects everyone… and it’s about paying little attention to those things when deciding who to be friends with, who to speak to, and who is just the same as you are.

More Than Rivals

The publisher’s blurb:

An Inspiring True Story Set in the Midst of the Civil Rights Era

By 1970, racial tension was at a breaking point in the southern town of Gallatin, Tennessee. Desegregation had emotions running high. The town was a powder keg ready to erupt. But it was also on the verge of something incredible.

Eddie Sherlin and Bill Ligon were boys growing up on opposite sides of the tracks who shared a passion for basketball. They knew the barriers that divided them–some physical landmarks and some hidden in the heart–but those barriers melted away when the boys were on the court. After years of playing wherever they could find a hoop, Eddie and Bill entered the rigors of their respective high school teams. And at the end of the 1970 season, all-white Gallatin High and all-black Union High faced each other in a once-in-a-lifetime championship game. What happened that night would challenge Eddie and Bill–and transform their town.

Readers will love this fast-paced true story of courage, determination, character, and forgiveness.

What did I think of the book?

I would not have picked this book if it was only about basketball. I’m not that interested in the game, and would have more interest in a different story. But the fact this is more to do about racial tensions, desegregation in the South, and actual people (this is a true story, too!), and in light of all the things I see fly across my Facebook page the past few years, I was really curious about the story. I wasn’t disappointed in the least.

Whether you are a huge basketball fan, or you just know the ball is orange and you were taken to see the Harlem Globetrotters when you were a kid (like I was!), you will not want to put this book down. It’s not preachy on any aspect whatsoever. It doesn’t lay blame. It tells the story of two young boys who strike up a friendship, and what happens when they meet again on the basketball court years later.

And it might make you look at things today in a different light.


**I was sent this copy from Revell Books in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.*



Syd is a Midwestern girl who doesn’t think the term “girl” is sexist in the least – especially after she left her 20s. She holds a huge love for history (from WWI through the end of WWII, Victorian, Regency, and Elizabethan eras), some science fiction, and likes to pass the time reading, working with photography and needlework, and writing things. Lots of things. Syd likes to dance, too, but she looks like an utter goob doing so!

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