Emily, The Warrior is the story of a precocious female eighth grade basketball player. She fights neither demons nor mystical characters, but rather the real-life struggles of growing into a well-rounded young lady as she enters high school, still determined to improve her extraordinary basketball skills.
Emily Barker, the star of her middle school team, is five feet, ten inches tall and skinny. Her limbs look as fragile as yellow pencils, but she is fiercely competitive. Her father played in college and may be living vicariously through her. Her mother wants a more balanced life for her only child.
Emily spends her summers sweating in various gymnasiums with multi-racial and multi-cultural teammates, while her friends lounge at the town's pools . . . . .with the boys. She and Billy, her peer on the boys' team, plot to enhance the start of their high school basketball careers, but that gets misinterpreted by her friends, two of whom have their eye on Billy for other reasons.
While there is plenty of basketball action, the reader gets an insight into the life of an elite junior athlete, the sacrifices both she and her family make to support that, and how teamwork over rides racial and cultural differences. Emily wants to be part of her friend’s world, explore her other talents, satisfy her parents, and have them understand her as she begins to understand more of herself. She is becoming aware that there is a lot more to life than basketball, and struggles to balance her commitment her sport with her recognition of her other skills. and opportunities.