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The Wizenard Series: Training Camp

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From the mind of basketball legend and Academy Award–winning storyteller Kobe Bryant comes this radically original portrait of five young basketball players, one enlightening coach, and the awesome transformative power of the game. Filled with insights about the mental stamina and emotional clarity that peak performance requires, this is an indispensable story for young From the mind of basketball legend and Academy Award–winning storyteller Kobe Bryant comes this radically original portrait of five young basketball players, one enlightening coach, and the awesome transformative power of the game. Filled with insights about the mental stamina and emotional clarity that peak performance requires, this is an indispensable story for young athletes, coaches, educators, and anyone interested in the astonishing potential of team sports to unlock individual growth. THE GAME WILL NEVER BE THE SAME Magic doesn’t seem possible for the West Bottom Badgers. They’re the lowest-ranked basketball team in their league, and they live in the poorest neighborhood in Dren. Nobody expects them to succeed at anything. Plus, every kid on the team has secret struggles of his own. When a new coach named Professor Wizenard arrives on the first day of training camp, the Badgers can’t explain the magical-seeming things they see and hear. Every player experiences unique and strange visions―visions that challenge everything they thought they knew about basketball, and about their lives and their secrets off the court. To survive the increasingly intense ordeals of training, the Badgers will need to take unimaginable risks, learn to trust their teammates, and confront the darkness within themselves.


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From the mind of basketball legend and Academy Award–winning storyteller Kobe Bryant comes this radically original portrait of five young basketball players, one enlightening coach, and the awesome transformative power of the game. Filled with insights about the mental stamina and emotional clarity that peak performance requires, this is an indispensable story for young From the mind of basketball legend and Academy Award–winning storyteller Kobe Bryant comes this radically original portrait of five young basketball players, one enlightening coach, and the awesome transformative power of the game. Filled with insights about the mental stamina and emotional clarity that peak performance requires, this is an indispensable story for young athletes, coaches, educators, and anyone interested in the astonishing potential of team sports to unlock individual growth. THE GAME WILL NEVER BE THE SAME Magic doesn’t seem possible for the West Bottom Badgers. They’re the lowest-ranked basketball team in their league, and they live in the poorest neighborhood in Dren. Nobody expects them to succeed at anything. Plus, every kid on the team has secret struggles of his own. When a new coach named Professor Wizenard arrives on the first day of training camp, the Badgers can’t explain the magical-seeming things they see and hear. Every player experiences unique and strange visions―visions that challenge everything they thought they knew about basketball, and about their lives and their secrets off the court. To survive the increasingly intense ordeals of training, the Badgers will need to take unimaginable risks, learn to trust their teammates, and confront the darkness within themselves.

30 review for The Wizenard Series: Training Camp

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy Bullis

    I work part time at Barnes & Noble and received this as an ARC prior to publication. Imagine a basketball coach who's part Phil Jackson and part Professor Dumbledore, and you have Rolabi Wizenard. From practicing defensive drills against a tiger, to playing offense against their own shadow's, Coach Wizenard not only coaches the fundamentals of the game, but guides and counsels each of his young players as they face the biggest fears in their lives. Written in an unusual format in that you read I work part time at Barnes & Noble and received this as an ARC prior to publication. Imagine a basketball coach who's part Phil Jackson and part Professor Dumbledore, and you have Rolabi Wizenard. From practicing defensive drills against a tiger, to playing offense against their own shadow's, Coach Wizenard not only coaches the fundamentals of the game, but guides and counsels each of his young players as they face the biggest fears in their lives. Written in an unusual format in that you read the story from the point of view of each of the characters, I found it engaging and entertaining. Any young sports fan who also likes the fantasy and magic of Harry Potter is going to enjoy this book. The first in a series, I'm looking forward to the next volume.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anjali P

    I wondered whether the format of the book, the telling of an identical story from five seperate perspectives would make it boring, but I was wrong. The subtle differences seen from the thousand facets of a single event, made the pages eminently turnable. To me, it felt like a chronicling of the rich insides of the actually physically lived human experience, of how we can't ever truly know what it feels like to inhabit someone else's head.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Parks

    Man this book is fantastic! I've never read a book that was laid out the way this one is(view spoiler)[, reviewing the same events from different perspectives over and over (hide spoiler)] . This book is about basketball only on the surface. Really, it's a book about life, fears, challenges, pride, humility, pain, grit, emotions, psychology, leadership, humanity, and hope. In other words, it's a book about you and me. Well done and well made. I await its sequels with great anticipation!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Max Bonn

    Kobe Bryant's first book in his ambitious Wizenard Series: Training Camp is the tale of a struggling inner-city teenage basketball team that gets a magical assist from its head coach and wizard, Rolabi Wizenard. Training Camp is told from the perspective of five separate players, each describing the same event from his own unique point of view. Success seems impossible for the West Bottom Badgers. The players live in the poorest neighborhood in Dren and they are the worst team in the league. Kobe Bryant's first book in his ambitious Wizenard Series: Training Camp is the tale of a struggling inner-city teenage basketball team that gets a magical assist from its head coach and wizard, Rolabi Wizenard. Training Camp is told from the perspective of five separate players, each describing the same event from his own unique point of view. Success seems impossible for the West Bottom Badgers. The players live in the poorest neighborhood in Dren and they are the worst team in the league. However, they have never experienced anything like training camp before, and it’s about to transform them. Inspiration for Training Camp came to Kobe from a variety of places such as Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling and Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin, but Kobe revealed that it was, “a mix, a little bit of Mary Poppins and coaches I have had like Phil Knight. It was some of the life lessons he has taught me and that’s where I came up with the character of Rolabi. And from that, I started creating the team and the different personalities and the emotional challenges they are dealing with. And that’s how it came to be.” Kobe’s daughters also played a role in shaping the Wizenard Series. Kobe even tested out some of the unconventional drills on 13-year-old Gianna’s club basketball team which he coaches. He asked the team to use their imagination to get them to learn help-side defense or specific offensive sets and experimented with drills you will read about in Training Camp. Tigers on the court anyone? For kids who love sportsbooks, this series is sure to hook you and leave you wishing for the next installment. Training Camp makes you believe in the power of the game, dedication, great coaches, and a team. If only magic could be summoned to make the next book in Kobe’s series appear sooner!

  5. 4 out of 5

    RumBelle

    ARC received through Goodreads Giveaways, from Granity Studios. Thank you to Goodreads and Granity Studios. This was an amazing book on so many levels. First and foremost it's inspirational qualities. The five basketball players in this story that Coach Professor Wizenard helps each have enormous challenges. Life has not been kind, or easy to them, but through each of their stories we learn not only how they overcome adversity, but also how they learn to trust and triumph with each other as ARC received through Goodreads Giveaways, from Granity Studios. Thank you to Goodreads and Granity Studios. This was an amazing book on so many levels. First and foremost it's inspirational qualities. The five basketball players in this story that Coach Professor Wizenard helps each have enormous challenges. Life has not been kind, or easy to them, but through each of their stories we learn not only how they overcome adversity, but also how they learn to trust and triumph with each other as players on a team. The writing is so vivid. You can see the scenes spring to life from the page in your mind. A lot of the things mentioned in this book are harsh, but they don't make the book dark. On the contrary they show how even the toughest things can be overcome with hope and determination. I am not usually one who likes to read books where the same events are repeated from several different POV's, and I have to admit, at times it was boring and repetitive, but each character was unique and that helped. Magic, basketball, determination and strength are embodied in this book and I look forward to the next volume.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael Stewart

    What a fun start to a series! I was drawn into the world of their ballcourt and the trials of these kids. It is a fantasy, yes, but more contemporary than Harry Potter (so far, and I can imagine what's to come as we learn more about Granity is really intriguing). At this stage, the wizardry (wizenardry?) is an expertly wielded device used to challenge the kids and draw out their greatest fears. Like the first Harry Potter, I’d slot this closer to Middle Grade than Young Adult (although I’ll What a fun start to a series! I was drawn into the world of their ballcourt and the trials of these kids. It is a fantasy, yes, but more contemporary than Harry Potter (so far, and I can imagine what's to come as we learn more about Granity is really intriguing). At this stage, the wizardry (wizenardry?) is an expertly wielded device used to challenge the kids and draw out their greatest fears. Like the first Harry Potter, I’d slot this closer to Middle Grade than Young Adult (although I’ll enjoy watching the Badger’s grow up). What elevates the book further is two things. First, the writing is excellent. Second, the insights, which I’ve no doubt are a download of Kobe Bryant’s expertise, are phenomenal. To weave them in without it becoming didactic takes a lot of craft. I’ve read a few of Wesley King’s books now, and I find his ability to switch voices remarkable. Bring on game day!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    When Kobe Bryant said he had a book coming out, that dealt in Fantasy and Basketball, I was intrigued. I’m the same age as Kobe. I’ve basically grown with him. Saw him at 16 at a Basketball tournament. Followed his career, as a Lakers Fan. Cheered his accomplishments, and acknowledged his mistakes. I don’t accept the term “Stan” but I’m certainly a Fan. I went into this books with lowered expectations. I was pleasantly surprised. Wizenard had elements of Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and When Kobe Bryant said he had a book coming out, that dealt in Fantasy and Basketball, I was intrigued. I’m the same age as Kobe. I’ve basically grown with him. Saw him at 16 at a Basketball tournament. Followed his career, as a Lakers Fan. Cheered his accomplishments, and acknowledged his mistakes. I don’t accept the term “Stan” but I’m certainly a Fan. I went into this books with lowered expectations. I was pleasantly surprised. Wizenard had elements of Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Basketball instruction and philosophy. Essentially, it felt like a Phil Jackson session.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Wysocki

    In The Wizenard Series Training Camp by Wesley King, there is a basketball team in Dren, USA. Some of the characters in this book are Reggie, A-Wall, Devon, Peño, Rain, Big John, and Twig. They are very skeptical about their new coach, until they come to terms with the fact that he is magic. They grow together and help each other in their troublesome times. My favorite part is when they are forced to try and score on a tiger named Kallo. I really liked this book, and if you like basketball In The Wizenard Series Training Camp by Wesley King, there is a basketball team in Dren, USA. Some of the characters in this book are Reggie, A-Wall, Devon, Peño, Rain, Big John, and Twig. They are very skeptical about their new coach, until they come to terms with the fact that he is magic. They grow together and help each other in their troublesome times. My favorite part is when they are forced to try and score on a tiger named Kallo. I really liked this book, and if you like basketball and/or magic then you will love this book. I would classify it as if hogwarts had a basketball team.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    The writing is good but the format of repeating the exact scenes from each player perspective was mundane... I enjoyed the in depth character analysis, but nothing moves this story along... if book two does the same I’d skip it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Betzy

    This is a great YA series for all ages! Same story told from different points of view of each character. Basketball fans and fantasy/magic fans will both enjoy. Also a great face-your-fears lesson and a lesson that everyone goes through stuff you don’t know about. Holds your interest throughout!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Griselda

    I thought this book was interesting because you can see the different character's going through struggles at the same time and watching them overcome it and start working as a team. **Spoiler Alert** Rain dad left him when he was very young his dad was a really good basketball player so that drove rain to become the best basketball player he can be to hopefully some day get his dad back. Also his whole entire family depends on him to get them out of the bottom where all the poor people live. I thought this book was interesting because you can see the different character's going through struggles at the same time and watching them overcome it and start working as a team. **Spoiler Alert** Rain dad left him when he was very young his dad was a really good basketball player so that drove rain to become the best basketball player he can be to hopefully some day get his dad back. Also his whole entire family depends on him to get them out of the bottom where all the poor people live. This makes rain think he is superior on his team later on this creates a lot of conflict in the teams chemistry. Secondly his teammate twig is being builled by his teammate because he is richer than them. Also most of them don't know that are doing it. He is also very shy and doesnt cummicate his feelings a lot of the time.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Whipple

    Set in a vaguely dystopic community, basketball players from the poorest section of the community are hoping that basketball will be the ticket out for them and their families. In this first installment of The Wizenard Series, we meet the boys, and get to know five of the intimately as their new coach, Rolabi Wizenard, literally gets inside their heads to discover their stories, as well as to help them discover how to be the best versions of themselves. Good basketball action, good coaching Set in a vaguely dystopic community, basketball players from the poorest section of the community are hoping that basketball will be the ticket out for them and their families. In this first installment of The Wizenard Series, we meet the boys, and get to know five of the intimately as their new coach, Rolabi Wizenard, literally gets inside their heads to discover their stories, as well as to help them discover how to be the best versions of themselves. Good basketball action, good coaching advice, and a wonderful thread of the power of reading and stories as the boys remember books from their younger days about "the wizenards". The reader should know that the boys have had some serious trauma in their lives which isn't tied up nice and neat, but they are given tools to help them cope. These tools go along with the coaching that helps them to be better team players, and thus optimize their individual roles on the team. Each chapter starts with a Wizenard Proverb, and happily those are all compiled in the endmatter. The cover of the book is velveteen, which initially is cool, but as a librarian, I imagine it will get pretty nasty as more hands handle it. The book is very thick, and while that will be a draw to some readers, I also think the story would have worked well if it had been released with each character's section as a separate book. That would make it more appealing to "reluctant readers" and also allow for readers to share and swap the various character's stories. Recommended for readers who enjoy sports fiction, as well as those who like fantasy. And especially basketball fans. gr. 4-9

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    Public library copy I wanted to like this one. I really, really did. Wizarding AND basketball? By Wesley King? Yes, please! However, this suffers greatly from length. The same events are coverd from different perspectives, which just isn't necessary, especially since the book is almost 600 pages long. Not only that, but the book is paper over boards with a velvet like finish, and given the length of the book, would fall apart after about five circulations. I just don't have the readers for this Public library copy I wanted to like this one. I really, really did. Wizarding AND basketball? By Wesley King? Yes, please! However, this suffers greatly from length. The same events are coverd from different perspectives, which just isn't necessary, especially since the book is almost 600 pages long. Not only that, but the book is paper over boards with a velvet like finish, and given the length of the book, would fall apart after about five circulations. I just don't have the readers for this one. My sports readers generally want shorter books, and my fantasy readers generally don't want sports. This would be a great gift for a Harry Potter fan who also is a big fan of Kobe Bryant, but it's just not a book for my collection.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Corey Burton

    I absolutely loved this book!! It is so cool to know that young athletes can not only get a book that provides "escapism" through wizardry and magic, but also some valuable tips on life and competition. My favorite quote was "We can see so much, and yet, we choose not to. It is an odd decision." Another dope one is "everyone has a choice every moment of the day. Look, or look away." I would highly recommend this to any parent! It also is written in a cool format, telling the story through the I absolutely loved this book!! It is so cool to know that young athletes can not only get a book that provides "escapism" through wizardry and magic, but also some valuable tips on life and competition. My favorite quote was "We can see so much, and yet, we choose not to. It is an odd decision." Another dope one is "everyone has a choice every moment of the day. Look, or look away." I would highly recommend this to any parent! It also is written in a cool format, telling the story through the eyes of each of the key players providing different perspectives and different backgrounds.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Colin N

    This was an amazing book written by former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant. I really liked this book because it combined two things I love, basketball and science fiction. Its the story of a basketball team that is not very good. The players fight with each other and can't seem to get along. Then one day along comes Rolabi Wizenard, a coach that will change their lives. Throughout the story, Wizenard's special talents helps the team become better players and teammates.

  16. 4 out of 5

    JoAnne Richards

    Amazing! Basketball. Magic and Wizards. Proverbs. Face your fears. Find your dreams. Clear your mind. Trust your team. Awesome book! Loved it and it was ironic that I finished reading it the same night as the Raptors took the cup!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    Every middle school athlete should read this.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Angelea

    Lessons learned: 1) Everyone has challenges. 2) fear holds us back from accomplishing what we need to get done. 3) using lessons you learn from overcoming your fears can lead you to helping others. I originally did not like the writing style of this book. However, I pushed through and ended up really enjoying it. I will read the second book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Specialk

    I'm DNF'ing this, but I don't know that means it isn't a good book. It's just really not for me. The writing is fine, and I can imagine the premise being of interest to basketball fans...but I really couldn't slog through it. And the prospect of 350 more pages (I got halfway through part 2) was awful. It seemed to have some great messages, but I also felt like I was being hit over the head with them (and I in turn wanted to hit the characters over the head). Plus - these kids are supposed to be I'm DNF'ing this, but I don't know that means it isn't a good book. It's just really not for me. The writing is fine, and I can imagine the premise being of interest to basketball fans...but I really couldn't slog through it. And the prospect of 350 more pages (I got halfway through part 2) was awful. It seemed to have some great messages, but I also felt like I was being hit over the head with them (and I in turn wanted to hit the characters over the head). Plus - these kids are supposed to be like 12 and 13...and I kept forgetting that, and that was a weird issue for me (they seemed more like 17-18). I also want to point out that this book is covered in VELVET. [Or something velvet-like]. Any public or school librarians out there will know why I'm pointing this out.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Lippert

    I was looking forward to reading this book for its mix of magic and sports. The characters are a team of young basketball players, each with their own secrets and fears, and a magical coach. Unfortunately, the same story is told 5 times over, just from a different perspective. I found myself skimming much of the book to move the story along. I don't think I will continue with the series if the next book follows the same format.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Whitney Terrell

    This is a good book. I recommend this to kids who like fantasy and sports together. I'm glad I took a chance on this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Doublecrossed

    So conflicted over this book, at first I liked this book so much I was already considering it my favorite YA book since Harry Potter. However then I realized the title of the book was quite literal and the entire book starts and end with training camp. The book re-tells the same story from separate characters point of view, which would be fine, however the main story line never progresses! Over 550 pages of the same training camp time period, but told with different characters and ‘life lessons’ So conflicted over this book, at first I liked this book so much I was already considering it my favorite YA book since Harry Potter. However then I realized the title of the book was quite literal and the entire book starts and end with training camp. The book re-tells the same story from separate characters point of view, which would be fine, however the main story line never progresses! Over 550 pages of the same training camp time period, but told with different characters and ‘life lessons’. I would have loved this book if it only used two characters to get the different points of view but then actually advanced the main story line. Based on this book the next books in this series will be... o After training camp but before the season o Pre-season to the regular season o Regular season part 1 o Regular season part 2 o Regular season part 3, the push for the playoffs o Playoffs first round o Playoffs second round o Playoffs championship game

  23. 5 out of 5

    Amber K

    I was excited to begin this book! I truly loved the way that basketball and magic were mixed together. However, the format in which the book is written had me struggling to finish it. I appreciated the different perspectives from each of the characters but it was still the same, exact story....5 times.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Cleaves

    This book contains a cloying redundancy of stories of thirteen year old boys who seem to cry a lot. It contains many sports terms and concepts which may make it less relevant for non-ballers. On the other hand anyone can benefit from the so-called proverbs at the end of the book. I wanted to like this book more, but I am likely not in its target audience.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dylan Guzman

    It has good messages and lessons, but it got vary vary repetitive. I ended up skipping the last hundred pages. It is the same story five times, just told in different perspective. I would not really recommend.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Enrique Rodriguez

    “If you rise above the conflict, you can see who needs your help,” says the author of The Wizenard Series: Training Camp to the reader(King 378). Normally when we go into battle we take into account the swords of the enemy, the movement of their chests as they breath heavily from over exertion. Yet, we almost never look around to see the people around us struggling against a ferocious attack from an enemy that seems almost invisible to you. But if you take your time, you can slowly start to see “If you rise above the conflict, you can see who needs your help,” says the author of The Wizenard Series: Training Camp to the reader(King 378). Normally when we go into battle we take into account the swords of the enemy, the movement of their chests as they breath heavily from over exertion. Yet, we almost never look around to see the people around us struggling against a ferocious attack from an enemy that seems almost invisible to you. But if you take your time, you can slowly start to see the figure attacking your friend, family member, or teammate. This is the meaning of the entirety of the book written by this amazing author. In this novel 10 days are replayed five times from different perspectives. Each perspective is a person from the West Bottom Badgers basketball team. A Basketball team is from a polluted city, with soil so acidic that plants could not grow, with air so rich with ash you could get sick with a few inhales, and with water so contaminated that it comes out yellow. The Basketball team consists of 10 ragged teenage boys from this less than humble town. While there may be 10 boys, we only get to see the perspective of 5 of the boys. Each boy comes from a different background. With different economic statuses, different morals, and most importantly, different fears. While the book talks about Basketball and its lessons are centered around it, the main theme of this book is fear. Fear is what holds the boys back from truly attaining their maximum potential and also halts their maturity. Yet in a place so desolate, and with fears so controlling, how are you supposed to conquer these fears. That is where the newest coach of the Dren basketball team comes into play, ba dum-tss. His name is Rolabi Wizenard, and he seems to have this unnatural aura around him, tall, mysterious, and strangely magical. As the days progress the “drills” that the boys are forced through grow harder and more impossible to complete. But with the help of their coach they reach an enlightened state where they find peace within themselves and can finally play the sport they signed up to play. Each protagonist is given many different personalities, from arrogance, timidness, and even depressed. This book is very intricate and you can only truly understand what happens each day of the training camp if you read each person's perspective. Each chapter has a different name depending on the current protagonist that you are following. They also have different quotes that can help you better understand your personal fear as well. As once you find your fear, you can help others with theirs. Each person will eventually This book truly is magnificent, and it even helped me recognize one of my own fears, and I am truly happy to have read it. It is an interesting read and even gives life lessons. It is a book that will affect you personally. I cried about 4 times while reading this book and learned a lot about myself. I cannot stress how much you need to read this book, if you are confused in your life read this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Annalee Schnebele

    It's basketball Harry Potter with some indications of social justice/Hunger Games type revolt in the future. It's the same story of a basketball team and their new wizenard coach during tryouts when weird magical things happen. And then the story is told from five different player. It surprisingly doesn't repeat as much as you would think. I'm interested to see where book 2 goes with the story. Recommended for middle school students. There are some out there that like basketball and fantasy - and It's basketball Harry Potter with some indications of social justice/Hunger Games type revolt in the future. It's the same story of a basketball team and their new wizenard coach during tryouts when weird magical things happen. And then the story is told from five different player. It surprisingly doesn't repeat as much as you would think. I'm interested to see where book 2 goes with the story. Recommended for middle school students. There are some out there that like basketball and fantasy - and those are the kids who will eat this up.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Ph

    Found this book engaging and interesting at the start. After realising that the storyline wasn't moving as the book progresses (due to 5 different perspectives), it became a chore to read the book. I'm a fan of Kobe Bryant, and I believed he and the author had their own reasons for the way this book panned out. But from a reader/consumer's point of view, I think the marginal utility I received from this book was minimal.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Even Canada's favourite junior/YA writer, Wesley King, couldn't save this one. Long, repetitive, and preachy -- and that's just the first character's story. The same story is told FOUR MORE TIMES by four other players. I was so unimpressed with the first one that I didn't even bother with the rest. Plus... Kobe Bryant getting involved in YA lit in the me too era, with his dodgy history? Bit of a head scratcher. Hard pass.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Hernán Pinto Zambrano

    I'm a 31 yo who would have appreciated grown up with a Wizenard to help me face my fears. Good dialog ideas and each day in the training camp you do not know what to expect. In a very oversimplified watered-down form it is like Mary Poppins meets basketball. We all need a character we can relate and grow with. Recommend.

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