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Publisher's Summary

New York Times Best Seller • John Grisham takes you to a different kind of court in his first basketball novel. Samuel “Sooley” Sooleymon is a raw, young talent with big hoop dreams - and even bigger challenges off the court.

“Hard to put down ... the pages turn quickly ... building to a climax that won’t leave readers doubting whether this is a John Grisham novel.” (Associated Press)

In the summer of his 17th year, Sam­uel Sooleymon gets the chance of a lifetime: a trip to the United States with his South Sudanese teammates to play in a showcase basket­ball tournament. He has never been away from home, nor has he ever been on an airplane. The opportunity to be scouted by dozens of college coaches is a dream come true.

Samuel is an amazing athlete, with speed, quick­ness, and an astonishing vertical leap. The rest of his game, though, needs work, and the American coaches are less than impressed.

During the tournament, Samuel receives dev­astating news from home: A civil war is raging across South Sudan, and rebel troops have ran­sacked his village. His father is dead, his sister is missing, and his mother and two younger brothers are in a refugee camp.

Samuel desperately wants to go home, but it’s just not possible. Partly out of sympathy, the coach of North Carolina Central offers him a scholar­ship. Samuel moves to Durham, enrolls in classes, joins the team, and prepares to sit out his freshman season. There is plenty of more mature talent and he isn’t immediately needed.

But Samuel has something no other player has: a fierce determination to succeed so he can bring his family to America. He works tirelessly on his game, shooting baskets every morning at dawn by himself in the gym, and soon he’s dominating everyone in practice. With the Central team los­ing and suffering injury after injury, Sooley, as he is nicknamed, is called off the bench. And the legend begins.

But how far can Sooley take his team? And will success allow him to save his family?

Gripping and moving, Sooley showcases John Grisham’s unparalleled storytelling powers in a whole new light. This is Grisham at the top of his game.

©2021 John Grisham (P)2021 Random House Audio

What listeners say about Sooley

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excellent book Mr Grisham has done it again

I loved it it is well worth the listen ,I would recommend this to anyone

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One of his best

Loved the narrator. Very moving and informative story. Going to read his other sports books



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Grisham in top form

I have read just about everything that Grisham has published, and 'Sooley', no hands down, is his best ever. Grisham, I find out, was first a basketball player, and this is his ode to the sport, written from a depth of knowledge and woven out of his intimacy with the language and his love of the game. Grisham does not write from A through Z without side-lining the reader somewhere between R, S and T, and, no surprise then, 'Sooley' has its own narrative twists and turns with a story scoped out of emerging Africa bridging into contemporary America. More, a standing ovation for Audible book reader Dion Graham, for whom 'Sooley' is a tour-de-force, ten plus hours of skilled dramatization, vocalization, characterization and delivery, with mastery of a specialized sports vocabulary - eminently listenable.

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Did not like the twist at the end

I grew to love Sooley a
No his determination to suckseed. I would have rather there have been a plane crash or some other way of dealing with death. Otherwise I really enjoyed the narrative.

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Very enjoyable read/listen 👍

I couldn’t put it down from the first word to the last. Sure … it is not “normal” Grisham, but I really enjoyed it none the less.

My family sponsors a Syrian family, and their stories of day to day life certainly make our issues, in North America, seem mostly insignificant in comparison.

Our community celebrates the difference it has made in their lives.

A story , like “ Sooley “ , gives hope and inspiration!

Thank you John Grisham 🙏

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True to life

Great story - so surprised by the ending. I will recommend this book. I pray for families for whom some elements in this story resonant personally.

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Poor effort

Pointless book. He laid down a good story line
but let it die. Why?
Waste of a read.

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A test to a true writer's skill

This is entirely different court for Grisham. It's one thing to write about an arena that you're too familiar with; it's another to write about one that you're not. Even Sudan is a world away from Mississippi. This was a test to Grisham's skill as a writer. Hats off because he did it.
And it was great listening to Dion Graham—one of my all-time favorite narrators.

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Great story. Not what I was expecting.

Characters came alive
I kept thinking it must be a true story. makes you think about the players background who you see on the court. Loved it.

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Pleasantly Surprised

Wonderful storytelling, Grisham had me from the start, sports and inhumanity mixed tears flow.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-04-28

Wow! Just wow!

I went through a whole range of emotions with this book. It's been a long time since I've cried, laughed cheered, and fell in love with a character in a book. I'm gonna miss you. I didn't want this to end!

49 people found this helpful

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  • Rebecca R. Haynes
  • 2021-04-29

Incredible

I have over 300 books in my Audible collection. This is the first time I have ever reviewed a book. The characters were so developed and felt as if you knew them. I’m the mother of five children and was devastated for the mothers.

31 people found this helpful

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  • dorothy elliott
  • 2021-04-30

Grisham does it again

I had doubts wether I would like this book. It wasn’t going to be Grisham’s normal legal book and I’m not a basketball fan.
Still I couldn’t put it down. The story line is amazing and the characters become family and friends right from the beginning. I even have a new respect for the game not to mention the tragedies around the world.
The only con is that the story is over.

27 people found this helpful

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  • valerie mansfld
  • 2021-04-29

Not disappointed at all!

This is a great feel good story. I’m not a sports buff in the slightest, but truly enjoyed the story. I’m a huge fan of Grisham’s books; I was not disappointed as I was in the “Camino” series.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-04-28

Hate the ending!

The story and characters are great but the story builds up and then nothing it’s over.I would say you have to be a basketball lover to enjoy the book. I am so that part interest me.That part is great and the part about the boy coming from Africa is great. What he achieves is great it’s the ending that stinks.

15 people found this helpful

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  • David S Stanley Jr.
  • 2021-05-03

Well written but disappointingly depressing

Sooley by John Grisham was well written, and despite my dislike of basketball it held my interest throughout, However it reinforced my intense disappointment with the exploitation of young men and women in their dream of playing professional basketball.
I found the ending to be disappointingly depressing while at the same time inspirational. So much was left unsaid and left the reader questioning what has happened to our society. I’m sorry I read this book and will research future Books by John Grisham before reading them rather than automatically figuring they’ll be good based on his past endeavors.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Ohio Reader
  • 2021-04-29

Grabs you & doesn’t let go!

The life of Sooley grabs you & doesn’t let go! Emotional Highs & lows throughout the book!

14 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-04-29

Interesting Story

Loved the story - it was well told and very different for this author. I wanted the ending to be a little more 'happily ever after', but life isn't always perfect, and the actual ending was a good one. I'm not sure you'll like this if you hate sports, but I enjoyed the sports aspect. If you can appreciate or even endure a lot of basketball, this book is worth a listen.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Patrick A McMaster
  • 2021-04-29

John Grisham has a remarkable record- Sooley is awesome

Sooley A Fantastic Read. An incredible talent who has yet to write a novel that wasn’t exceptional.

Every Business I’ve owned has driven thru Oxford, Mississippi. The Authors hometown.

I first heard about this Lawyer who was selling his first effort “ A Time to Kill”? Out of his car near and far to bookstores.

The Innocent Man his entree to non fiction remains one of the best I’ve ever read.

John Grisham found success the hard way.

The humility is probably why he remains the GOAT






11 people found this helpful

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  • Jacqueline M Connelly
  • 2021-04-30

Grisham’s novels never disappoint

I really enjoyed the journey of Sooley. It was moving also to learn about what people in Sudan have gone through. I couldn’t stop listening!

10 people found this helpful