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  • Sooley

  • A Novel
  • Written by: John Grisham
  • Narrated by: Dion Graham
  • Length: 10 hrs and 27 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (289 ratings)

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Sooley cover art

Sooley

Written by: John Grisham
Narrated by: Dion Graham
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Publisher's Summary

Number one 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 the critics say

"An intensely moving story, told with the same eye for character and descriptive detail Grisham brings to his crime novels. His occasional forays into general fiction are usually interesting, but this one is considerably more than that. It’s skillfully written, with a deeply compelling central character and a story that is full of raw emotion and suspense." (Booklist)

"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)

What listeners say about Sooley

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Phenomenal Story

Such a great listen and hopeful tale. I just wanted everything to work out for the main character. Thoroughly enjoyed the first 75%, the last 25% of the tale was difficult to get through and not what I wanted. Author had a vision, I wish there would be a re-write with a better ending.

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2 people found this helpful

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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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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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Not Grisham typical storyline but typical greatness!

I did not read what the story was about before I downloaded. Pleasantly surprised. I’m not even a huge basketball fan, but the story was well written, intriguing, and left me, wanting to get back in the car to listen to more. Feelings of happiness, sadness, helplessness, all happened regularly throughout the novel. Great book.

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Great story

Adored this story. But the narrator reminded me of the unsolved mysteries host. Every sentence sounded like a gotcha moment, a ghost around the corner, nothing against the narrators voice, but the delivery was just weird and awkward.

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Broke my heart

This is Grisham at his best. I was screaming in my car as I listened - “Don’t take the pill, don’t!!” My heart is still aching. The performance was outstanding, the story was gripping, and I wish the could bring Sooley back!

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Not a normal Grisham legal thriller, but excellent!

I was waiting for the classic Grisham legal DNA to appear, it never did and the book was fabulous.

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Sooley, Sooley

John has made a huge departure from his legal genre of story but he has found a great new sports story. Everyone loves a story of an underdog making the leap to stardom and John has found a wonderful story of triumph. You will love cheering for Sooley and his teammates. This book is a winner.

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It was great. Not what I expect from Grisham.

The story is compelling. We listened in the car and it made for a very enjoyable drive.

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Mr John Grisham is the best writer ever

everything that he writes is interesting and captivating. on this audio book, the narration is greatly done. congrats to Mr. Dion Graham

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