Dear Mr. Lupicia,
I'll be honest. I picked up your book Travel Team because it had a ball on the front cover. I play soccer-lots of it- and I thought it would be a book about a kid who played basketball, and I could get through it without too much sweat.
But it didn't turn out that way. I began to see parts of me in Danny that I loved, hated, and envied. Danny was my age, played basketball, and his dream was to make the travel team. I play soccer and was trying to make my Olympic Development Program soccer travel team. So far, we were both alike.
During the course of the book, Danny had ups and downs. Just like in my life, his dad wasn't present, but his dad wanted to come back. Danny, however, wouldn't let his father into his life because he had abandoned him over and over again. My father passed away. Unlike Danny, I would do anything just to hear my dad's voice again. Danny got over it, leaving me to feel like I should get over it too, and I did, kind of ... but part of me will always be longing for my dad. I was jealous of Danny because his father had a second chance to be a dad to him, but Danny turned him down. I would never do that.
I noticed after I put the book down that I always seemed to be thinking of Danny. It was always "What would Danny do?" Your book made me realize that what we want doesn't always go the way we plan, but it doesn't matter because we can get through it anyway. I started to feel for everyone else around me- my mom, my sister- because Danny selflessly didn't care about himself. He cared for his mother.
It takes a special kind of person to think about what someone else is going through when you yourself are hurting the same or even more than the other person. For instance, my sister, Nene, was diagnosed with cancer when she was nine, and one of the only things she would do is worry about mom and what would happen if she passed away like my father had. That's what type of person I want to be. And that's how Danny was. And here I thought the only reason I chose the book was because there was a basketball on the cover!
I found myself singing in the shower or just talking to someone about something upbeat. I don't even think Travel Team qualifies as a book; it's more like therapy than anything else. This book turned me into the person I am today. I wish that everyone who is mourning could have a book that completely changed the way they think or feel. It was like my little black book, my safe place, something I could always turn to, no matter what
Thank you for writing Travel Team. It was something I could count on and love! It helped me get through a tough time in my life. I'm off to find a random book with a ball on the cover ... what could go wrong!