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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
The Legend of Suzy High Kick by William Barnard is the story of a high school senior named Suzy Beckham and those who surround, support, love, and are moved by her character, which gives back the same. Suzy is a well-liked student in her town and at West End High School, sharing her dream of being a cheerleader for the football team in the school's elite and nationally ranked team, led by expert cheer coach Sherry Tinsdale. Sherry initially brushes off the request but, after witnessing Suzy's enthusiasm, she runs the idea past her squad who all agree Suzy would make a great addition to the team. Meanwhile, behind her professional success and a façade that all is well in the home she shares with her husband David, Sherry grapples with her struggles in carrying a pregnancy to full term and is ultimately faced with a choice, with the outcome literally resulting in only one conclusion or the other—a matter of life or death.
William Barnard writes an engrossing story in The Legend of Suzy High Kick. Suzy's spirit, enthusiasm, and kindness thread throughout the tale, and while they are sometimes tempered by things that do not go her way, she maintains these qualities despite occasional setbacks and disappointments. Where Suzy is wholly contented, Coach Sherry is far from this. As a character, I found her to be incredibly well developed, particularly as the book is not very long. She commands respect not through asking but by the sheer admiration of her colleagues and squad. She is intelligent, accomplished, and multi-faceted, but her pain is fully realized through a narrative that shifts points of view and allows a reader to get to know her, as well as Suzy and her family. Overall, I think this is a wonderful book with inspiration pushing through unexpected places, bubbling with pain, hope, and a message of faith that springs in the heart of a hardened woman and the warmth of a girl who is more than just a young lady with Down Syndrome.