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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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What listeners say about Sooley

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

76 people found this helpful

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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.

63 people found this helpful

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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.

57 people found this helpful

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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.

39 people found this helpful

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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.

33 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

24 people found this helpful

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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!

18 people found this helpful

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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






17 people found this helpful

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Miss

As a college basketball fan, the college basketball storyline is simply impossible. There seems to be a general lack of understanding by the author or the editor from anywhere from the realities of HBCU scheduling, the tier in which a MEAC school lands in bball, the size of a basketball court, and most unforgivably how March madness works.

To suffer through a very detail oriented second act rife with distracting, unreasonable scenarios, only to have the third act go down the way it went down, I would not recommend this book to a basketball fan.

11 people found this helpful

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worst book ever

no suspense or drama just play by play basketball....must have been a ghost writer... grisham needs to stick to who done it stories.

9 people found this helpful