November 18, 2013

Game Plan

CanLit for LittleCanadians 

is pleased to join with



author Natalie Corbett Sampson

 in their

Basketball and Babies Blog Tour

to celebrate the release of

Game Plan
by Natalie Corbett Sampson
Fierce Ink Press
351 pp.
Ages 12+
November, 2013
Reviewed from ebook 9781927746127

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
gang aft a-gley

~ Robert Burns (from "To a Mouse")

Robbie Burns astutely wrote that, whether preparing for winter or for your future, plans do not always follow in a straight trajectory from beginning to end.  I'm not even sure whether it be best that they do.  Regardless, there are many times when you're on track and successfully following the steps of your plan when you may be catapulted off and onto a different road.  The trick is knowing how to adapt to your new plan and deciding whether returning to your original is a good idea, or even an option.

The life plans of two families are entwined from the start of Natalie Corbett Sampson's first novel, Game Plan.  Basketball is everything to teens Ella, older brother Ben and his best friend Charlie.  All on their school teams, along with Ella's friend Alex, the friends are always up for improving their skills and practising, and hopeful of being scouted and attending university.  And, though she has always been more comfortable being one of the guys, Ella is flattered when another basketball player at school, Sam Cleveland, shows an interest in her and asks her out.  That's the little penny on the tracks that will have Ella's plans teetering.

Katherine and Danny Frayne are a young couple who've been married for 7 years, and trying for a baby for the past 5.  Their plan of a family seems to be dissipating, after several tries at in vitro fertilization.  Katherine is desperate, having envisioned herself as a mother for so long, but Danny gets her thinking about other options, including adoption and fostering children.

While Ella and Sam's relationship becomes more serious, she is caught off-guard when they have sex at a party at which she'd been drinking.  Although she doesn't let that happen again (though she feels like a loser and worries about making Sam angry), that single random act catapults Ella into an unforeseen situation: pregnancy. 

While the reader may predict how the two story lines will converge, the Fraynes and the Parkers will not encounter each other till much later in the book.  Until that time, each family experiences repeated disappointments and hope, having been thrown off their game plans and attempting to adapt to their new circumstances, chosen or not. (Surprisingly or not, Sam has no problem telling Ella that the baby isn't part of his plan and that, if she doesn't get an abortion, it's game over for them.)

Natalie Corbett Sampson takes the time to develop the two story lines fully to ensure that the angst of Ella's pregnancy and the hardships Katherine and Danny experience in trying to conceive and then adopt are completely palpable.  The highs and lows of receiving unexpected news, unfathomable positive and negative reactions from close ones, and picking oneself up to continue to adjust are heartbreaking.  The consequences of having your Game Plan averted can be debilitating.  Ella's initial question about whether she's good enough for Sam soon transforms into whether she has ruined her whole life, and Katherine is wondering whether they're not getting pregnant because they'd be rotten parents and then whether they even dare to hope.

Game Plan makes it clear that those with the flexibility and courage to adapt their life plans, as needed, can make it through whatever life throws at them, whether they be basketballs or babies.

I believe in plans big enough to meet a situation which we can't possibly foresee now.

I believe in plans big enough to meet a situation which we can't possibly foresee now.

If you're in Nova Scotia this week, consider attending the

Book Launch  


Game Plan


Thursday, November 21, 2013

6:30-8:00 p.m.

Canada Games Centre
Halifax, Nova Scotia
to meet author Natalie Corbett Sampson, 
learn more about her book and 
get an autographed copy of Game Plan 
for yourself or a young reader
I believe in plans big enough to meet a situation which we can't possibly foresee now.


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