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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Purple Phantoms, by Julius Thompson, is an exceptionally entertaining sports novel with a touch of mystery and the supernatural. What can the coach of losing Rockwell High School do to pull his team out of a 30-game defeat? Coach Larry Jones was once a super successful coach, but now he feels pressure from the principal to turn it around so he can impress the Board of Education. The answer may lie in the supernatural mystery of The Phantoms, five ghosts of young basketball players that passed away prematurely, now returning to take up residence inside five living basketball players. Will this help the starters to move to the State Championship? Could it even help the players to mature in their lives? The ghosts don't just show up just to play good basketball. They have a higher mission - to rescue someone in trouble - even though some of the ghosts weren't the best of people and are given another chance. The community is a character in itself, divided and broken. What effect could ghosts possibly have on it? Something else is on the Phantoms' agenda, and that is to claim a sixth player for their sky games.
You don't have to be a basketball player or sports fan to love this novel, but it will definitely satisfy these two groups. The premise is intriguing and interesting: a standout among other sports novels on shelves and devices today. I like the novel's personal feel, which allows you to really get inside the characters' mindsets and emotions. You'll connect with the coach, the players, and find them realistic, with human strengths and weaknesses. Parts of this novel are very moving and poignant, and the writing is emotional and tough at times. This would be a good selection for classrooms and book clubs, and would definitely make a good movie. If you like unpredictable stories, and those with a lot of heart and a good message, Purple Phantoms by Julius Thompson is one you don't want to pass up.