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The Player
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The Player

By Paul Coccia

$12.95 Paperback
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$8.95 Ebook
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Series: Lorimer SideStreets

Rating: 0 vote(s).

Set in the traditionally homophobic world of amateur hockey, this book follows gay goalie Cooper in his struggle with his feelings for a teammate and coming out to his team. Cooper has been hooking up with teammate Pesh in secret, and has to play along when Pesh dates a girl and even tolerate locker-room homophobic talk. When Pesh outs Cooper online, trying to better his own chances at playing pro, Cooper chooses self-esteem and honesty over sex. With a strong and relatable main character, this book is a realistic, positive look at teen relationships — gay or straight.

When the gloves come off, what are you fighting for?

Cooper is the new goalie on his hockey team. He’s also gay. But the rest of the guys don’t know it. It’s not because Cooper is hiding it, or because he’s ashamed. It’s just that he considers the guys teammates, not friends yet. He’s heard the locker room talk and the way some of the guys talk about the “Puck Bunnies” and he’s not impressed.

So when Cooper and the team’s star player, Pesh, start fooling around, they agree to keep it just between them. Besides, Pesh is also seeing Bobbi, a girl with big dreams in sports PR who manages the social media accounts of players who have a chance at making it to the next level.

Soon Cooper begins to develop feelings for Pesh, but Pesh runs hot and cold towards him. It’s clear that Pesh fears for his hockey career if his relationship with Cooper is exposed. As Cooper becomes closer friends with Bobbi, he starts to wonder if Pesh isn’t playing them both.


Long-listed - Forest of Reading - Kid Committee List - 2021

"Recommended for high school libraries."

- School Library Journal

"The realistic and engaging content, relatable characters and fast-moving plot will be of interest to reluctant readers, beginning readers, and strong readers looking for a quick, interesting read. Highly Recommended."

- CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Fans of hockey are likely to pick up this book and will learn about healthy romantic relationships and the experience of LGBTQ+ players of the sport."

- CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Will draw in and retain the interest of reluctant readers."

- Kirkus Reviews

PAUL COCCIA has a specialist in English from the University of Toronto and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. He is the author of the YA novel Cub. Paul lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 184 pages
Publication Date: 16th February 2021
ISBN: 9781459415768
Format: 7.5in x 5.25in

Binding: Hardback, 184 pages
Publication Date: 1st August 2021
ISBN: 9781459415782
Format: 7.5in x 5.25in

Binding: Electronic book text, 160 pages
Publication Date: 16th February 2021
ISBN: 9781459415775
Format: EPUB

BISAC Code:  YAF031000, YAF058040, YAF059080
Imprint: Lorimer

Interest age: From 13 To 18
Fry Reading Level [grade]: 2.0
Lexile Reading Level: HL370L


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SideStreets Series

Edgy & realistic teen fiction

Series Website

Series features

  • Page-turning novels that engage reluctant readers
  • Presenting real-world issues in real ways
  • Award-winning, knowledgeable authors
  • Diverse characters and settings

"Sensitive and effective, these small, short books are explicitly aimed at reluctant readers." —Kirkus Reviews

"The quality of writing is excellent, and this book should be in every junior and senior- high school library...highly recommended."
—Canadian Book Review Annual

Sidestreets are edgy, fast-paced novels, that combine real-world themes and believable characters to make for short heart-stopping books - sure to engage the most reluctant reader.