It’s Book Birthday Tuesday!


Today I’m sending huge HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY WISHES to my fellow “Novel 19s” author and friend, Jeff Chen, as he celebrates the release of his debut middle grade novel,  ULTRABALL!

Early reviews of ULTRABALL have been fantastic, with the American Library Association’s trade review magazine, Booklist, saying of it, “… a smart and subtle exploration of socioeconomic inequality. SF and sports readers alike will enjoy the futuristic dystopia Chen has created. Fans of Mike Lupica, Dan Gutman, and Tim Green looking to get their feet wet in SF should be directed to this series opener.”

I don’t often read middle grade novels, but I have to admit the synopsis of this one is really engaging! I mean what could be better than mixing science fiction and sports together? Take a look at the synopsis, and tell me if you don’t agree with me! And y’all don’t tell my reluctant reader but, after reading the synopsis and reviews, I ordered a copy for him!


On the moon, Ultraball players are superstars, and only kids can play. But being an Ultraball superstar means blinding lights, deafening crowds, and the pressure of an entire colony on your back.

That’s how it is for Strike Sazaki, the best quarterback in the league. He loves defying gravity in his Ultrabot suit, crashing through opponents, and firing touchdown passes to his teammates. Strike has led the Taiko Miners to the Ultrabowl three years in a row, but each one has ended in defeat.

This year, Strike thinks he’s finally found the missing piece to his championship quest: a mysterious girl who could be his new star rocketback. But Boom comes from the Dark Siders, a mass of people who left the United Moon Colonies to live in exile. And not all his teammates are happy sharing a field with her.

When rumors surface of a traitor on the Miners, Strike isn’t sure who he can trust. If Strike can’t get his teammates to cooperate and play together, they’ll lose more than just the Ultrabowl. The future of his entire colony rests on his shoulders.

Debut author Jeff Chen introduces an exhilarating smash-mouth sport and a dazzling future world on the moon, where Ultraball is life—and survival is all that matters.

ULTRABALL releases today through Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. It’s available in Hardcover and digital versions through all major retailers, but here’s a quick link to the purchase link at

Give it a read and let me know what you think!

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