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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Zilla is a young adult coming of age story written by Leann Sage. Priscilla is about to start her freshman year in high school, but she really has no expectations for it being any different or in any way more exciting than junior high was. After all, when you're fifteen years old, are six-foot-two and weigh two hundred pounds, you're not exactly set up to be in the demographics for popular and pretty -- especially if you live in Los Angeles where nearly everyone seems to be thin and drop-dead gorgeous. And indeed, her first day was just as she expected, based upon her junior high experiences. She was basically on her own all day. Priscilla had already planned out her escape route from school to get back home in time for her favorite reality television shows. By cutting through the soccer field, she would gain a good ten minutes, but she never considered that soccer tryouts would be taking place when she got there. While her own soccer experience was limited to a few lunchtime games in elementary school, she immediately sensed that the girls trying out for goalie lacked even her rudimentary skills. And somehow, she found herself approaching the coach who found fault with her amusement over those girls' failures, and she surprised herself by saying quite assertively that she knew she could do it better.
Leann Sage's young adult coming of age story, Zilla, is a phenomenally good blend of the coming of age and sports fiction genres. I was instantly transported to that soccer field as Priscilla finds her purpose and passion, and loved every minute of every game and sports challenge this unlikely young athlete is involved in. Zilla is more than just a feel-good superstar sports story, however; this well-written and upbeat story is filled with unforgettable and authentic characters who it's impossible to not get involved with, including Priscilla's brother, mom and dad, and the best friend she makes during that first momentous afternoon, the diminutive movie addict, Daja. Sage also covers a lot of social issues in her tale, including whether college is really the right choice for every young adult and the challenges faced by transgender youth in sports and in general. Zilla has something for everyone, and it's a joy to read. It's most highly recommended.