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5 Finalists in 5 Days: MFA Alum Geoff Herbach

Herbach Hooper 375

MFA Alum Geoff Herbach's novel Hooper from Katherine Tegan Books/ HarperCollins is nominated for a Minnesota Book Award in the Young Adult Fiction category.


Herbach is a Minnesota Book Award winner and the author of the award-winning Stupid Fast series as well as Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders. He teaches creative writing at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He lives in St. Peter.

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For Adam Reed, basketball is a passport. Adam’s basketball skills have taken him from an orphanage in Poland to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota. When he’s tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, it just confirms that basketball is his ticket to the good life: to new friendships, to the girl of his dreams, to a better future.
But life is more complicated off the court. When an incident with the police threatens to break apart the bonds Adam’s finally formed after a lifetime of struggle, he must make an impossible choice between his new family and the sport that’s given him everything.


“Herbach’s ability to expand the narrative from solid game play to confronting racial injustice is remarkable. No one here is perfect, and their failures make readers cringe yet root for success. Hoops and so much more.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“There’s much to love in this sports tale. Fast-paced play-by-plays vividly depict the speed and beauty of the game. Adam’s backstory is heartrending and with immigrant mistrust and nonviolent protests in the national spotlight, this is a timely and realistic teen drama and swish—nothin’ but net.” (School Library Journal)

“This sports/school/domestic drama checks all the boxes. What could be another boilerplate basketball novel benefits from a tight cast of well developed secondary characters who surpass their expected stereotypes.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

“Fresh, funny, thoughtful, subversive, and totally absorbing. Book of the year!” (Robert Lipsyte, Margaret A. Edwards award-winning author of The Contender)
“Funny, gut-wrenching, and spilling over with heart, Hooper is an uplifting breath of joy, and gives us all cause to be hopeful. I loved it!” (Andrew Smith, Michael L. Printz Honor and New York Times bestselling author of Winger and Grasshopper Jungle)

Read the first four chapters of Hooper


The Minnesota Book Awards is a year-long program that fosters our statewide literary arts community and connects readers and writers throughout Minnesota.

The process begins in the fall with book submissions and continues through winter with two rounds of judging. Winners are announced at the annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony each spring. Woven throughout the season are various engagement activities and events that promote the authors and connect the world of Minnesota books – writers, artists, illustrators, publishers, editors, and more – to readers throughout the state.

Tickets on sale here

Congratulations, Geoff!