All Mars All Stars

From the book:

Just walking inside the Joe Louis Arena made me think of the long hockey tradition in this city -- from the great Gordie Howe right on up to the stars of today, like Steve Yzerman and Sergei Fedorov.
I would have been impressed if our seats had been in the last row, behind a pole. But when I found out that Coach Bolitsky had arranged for us to sit in the press box -- the
press box! -- I flipped out.
"Just like the real reporters!" I howled. I threw myself in the door like I was being shot out of a cannon. Even though the game hadn't started yet, I pressed my nose up against the glass and stared down at the deserted ice surface. "This is so cool!"
From beside me, a gravelly voice said, "Hey, kid, you're smearing the window. Some of us have to work here, you know."
"I'm working, too," I told the rumpled older man in the chair beside me. "I'm reporting on this game for the
Waterloo Elementary School Gazette."
"Waterloo?" He sounded interested. "Isn't that the town where they won't let a girl on the All-Star team?"
I was thrilled. "You read about us in
Sports Illustrated?"
"Kid, I
wrote that article. I'm the hockey writer for S.I." He stuck out a big paw. "Dan Flockhart."
I was completely dazzled as we shook hands. "But how did you get the flyer? Did one blow all the way to your house?"
He laughed. "I showed up for work one morning, and there it was on my fax machine. I can't remember who it came from. Mitch Somebody."
Dad! Wasn't that just like him? Who else could be so awful and so fantastic, all in the same week?
"It was perfect timing," Mr. Flockhart went on. "Deadline day, and I had writer's block."
I watched as a very familiar bulge in his cheek shifted from one side to the other. Except for the beard, it was like looking in a mirror. "Is that a -- a
He nodded. "Licorice Cannonball."
I couldn't hold it in. "Mom! It's the
Sports Illustrated reporter! And he eats jawbreakers!"
"Does his dentist drive a Rolls-Royce?" she shot back. Talk about a one-track mind!
I introduced Mr. Flockhart to the team. He didn't recognize Alexia, but he was pretty sure he'd seen Cal somewhere before.
"Oh, that was me on the flyer," Cal explained proudly. "But don't worry. The rest of it was all her."
Mr. Flockhart turned out to be a terrific guy. Even when I admitted that I was out to steal his job, he was still nice to me. I would have been happy that night if the Red Wings hadn't even shown up. But they did. And it was amazing!
We rooted for the home team. But the visitors were the Dallas Stars. So we were kind of pulling for them, too, us being fellow Stars and all that.
A 2-2 tie went into overtime. We screamed ourselves hoarse when Steve Yzerman won the game for Detroit. It was a happy crew that piled into the cars for the short drive back to Windsor.
Josh and I were roommates. We were pretty zonked, but we were too wound up to think about going to sleep.
I headed straight for the phone. "Hello, room service? Could you please send an extra-large platter of jawbreakers up to room 504?"
There was laughter on the other end of the line. "We don't carry jawbreakers in the restaurant, kid," came a woman's voice. "Besides, I've got a memo not to deliver anything to your block of rooms. It's signed by a Mr. Bolitsky."
Totally deflated, I put down the receiver. "I never knew the coach was such a suspicious guy," I commented.
"I'm going to call Trent," Josh decided. "You know -- to congratulate him and wish him luck in the final tomorrow."
"Good idea," I approved. While Josh was on the phone, I peered out the window, just in case there were any candy stores near the hotel. No such luck.
Josh hung up with a frown. "The desk clerk said they're still out celebrating."
I checked my watch. "It's after eleven. That must be some party."
Josh sighed. "Maybe Lex is right. Trent would be better off without us."
That thought took some of the shine off the evening. We stayed up, calling Trent's room. It was almost midnight when we finally drifted off to sleep, exhausted.
The next thing I knew, there was a loud pounding at our door. I shook myself awake just in time to hear a voice in the hall:
"Coach Bolitsky! Wake up!"
I stared at the digital clock. 1:17.
More pounding. "Come on, Coach! Wake up! It's an emergency!"
Josh and I ran to the door and threw it open.
There in the hall, wild-eyed and rumpled, was Trent Ruben.
"What's wrong?" cried Josh.
"Where's the coach?" demanded Trent.
My mom appeared, with her roommate, Alexia, in tow. "What's going on out here?" She glared at me. "For Pete's sake, Clarence. You
sleep with that stupid headband?"
"I just came from the hospital!" Trent gasped.
hospital?" Boom Boom burst out of the end room in flowered pajamas.
"Mr. Feldman took us out for pizza!" Trent explained breathlessly. "And the whole team got food poisoning! The doctor said it was the pepperoni!"
"You don't look sick to me," said Alexia. She sounded disappointed.
"I was the only guy who didn't have pepperoni," Trent replied. "I got mine with tofu." He shrugged self-consciously. "I told you I kind of like it."

Copyright © 1999 by Gordon Korman, used by permission

Mars is a small, unappreciated (and overly-ridiculed) town located just the other side of a canal from the city of Waterloo. Residents of Mars have had to put up with insults about their town and their skills for decades, but this year they've managed to get their own team entered into the local Slapshot hockey league. It's their one chance to show what they are made of!

The Mars Stars managed to overcome their shaky start in the league, and played well enough to save their team, in large part due to the incredible playing skill of their captain, Alexia, the first girl ever to play in the Slapshot league. She quite well might be the best all-around hockey player in the whole district.

So when players are chosen for the All-Star team and Alexia's name isn't on the list, it becomes obvious the Mars Stars are being doubly discriminated against. Being both female and from the unpopular town of Mars, Alexia's excellent record is being summarily overlooked.

Clarence 'Chipmonk' Adelman, Mars resident, reporter for the Waterloo Elementary School Gazette, and hockey fan extraordinaire, is on the war path. Risking all kinds of trouble with his school and his teachers, he stands on his principles to publicize the heinous slam, and even manages to get some nationwide media attention. But will it be enough to get Alexia into the All-Stars? Only the fates would know.