One on One


199 pages
ISBN 0-00-639531-7
DDC jC813'.54





Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and the author of the “Portraits” section of Emergency Librarian.


In his first year at Cornwallis Middle School, Jared St. George, 11
years old and a natural athlete, eagerly awaited the tryouts for the
school’s winning basketball team. Jared and his buddy, Steve Lewis,
are successful in becoming Cougars, but Jared’s ongoing difficulties
with mathematics threaten his athletic eligibility. While the only
“one on one” Jared had wanted to experience was on a basketball
court, his teacher, Mr. Keaton, prescribes one-on-one math tutoring from
the class brain and social pariah, Ellie Brejovic. One of Jared’s
Grade 6 competitors for a spot on the Cougars roster had been Rafe
Wells, whose wealthy father, Skylar, a city alderman and mayoral
candidate, had tried to influence the selection process by donating
computers to the school. Although Coach Jamieson rejected the talented
Rafe because of his selfish play, Rafe was told that he would have a
place on the Cougars should a vacancy occur. That opportunity seemingly
presents itself when Jared, after benefiting greatly from Ellie’s
tutoring, experiences test anxiety and flunks a major math test. When
Mr. Keaton reverses his long-standing policy of no takeovers on tests
and allows Jared a second chance, Jared is successful. Skylar Wells then
tries to make Mr. Keaton’s decision into an ethical issue by appearing
before the school board claiming that Mr. Keaton had been influenced by
the fact he was dating Jared’s divorced mother.

Although basketball is the hook that will cause boys to pick up One on
One, the novel is more about character development than about sports.


Aker, Don., “One on One,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed February 21, 2024,