An "Enchanting coming-of-age tale, with a young man struggling to come to terms with his future and what he really wants out of life. Anyone who has tried to live up to their parents' desires and expectations will be able to connect with Floyd as he begins his journey of self-discovery." -- School Library Journal (starred review)
MEET FLOYD. He's a tennis star. Possibly good enough to win Wimbledon one day. MEET MIKE. He's... different. Apart from anything else, Floyd seems to be the only one who can see him. But Mike must have appeared for a reason. And finding out why is perhaps the most important thing Floyd will ever do...---from the publisher
Upon returning home, he follows Mike and ends up working at a small local aquarium. Mike only shows up at pivotal moments, when Floyd needs some prompting, and at one point even saves Floyd's life. Floyd never regrets giving up tennis, although his parents were more invested than he thought, and his father ends up coaching other students. In the end, we see a completely different version of Floyd than would have existed had he not had the input of another side of his personality.
Strengths: Starting with Floyd's tennis skills, competition, and training is a brilliant hook. After that, the mysterious Mike, and his influence on Floyd, is just mesmerizing. I kept turning the pages and being astounded at the ways that Floyd's life took him. Marine biology is an oddly popular career choice among my middle school students (although not many of them actually major in this in college), so that tie-in is nice as well. I can't really explain why I liked this one so much, but my 8th grade readers who want more mature books like Key's Four Mile, Rupp's After Eli, Hautman's Slider and Currinder's Running Full Tilt will enjoy this quirky title.
Weaknesses: It was a bit much when Mike led Floyd to a discovery that netted him a LOT of money. Otherwise, I was okay with all of the coincidences