Nikki on the Line (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Thirteen year old Nikki is thrilled to make an elite travel basketball team, but the stress that comes along with it can be hard to deal with. How she handles that stress and how she becomes more of the Nikki is meant to be is what makes this book truly wonderful, along with an authentic voice and a wonderfully diverse group of family and friends. A pitch perfect middle grade novel for all to love! Best for grades 5 and up. 

— Cathy

Spring 2019 Kids Indie Next List

Nikki on the Line thrums with life, energy, and adolescent self-discovery. With a relatable, driven protagonist, Roberts deftly weaves a story of realistic struggles through the themes of genetic gifts and curses — and their complicated relationship with who we choose to be. Fun and perfectly balanced, this book is impossible to put down, even for readers who know nothing about basketball.”
— Heather Smith, Linden Tree Children's Books, Los Altos, CA


Nikki wants to be a basketball star . . . but between school stress, friend drama, and babysitting woes, will she be able to make it on her new team? Judy Blume meets Mike Lupica in this pitch-perfect, action-packed, and funny novel.

Thirteen-year-old Nikki Doyle's dreams of becoming a basketball great feel within reach when she's selected to play on an elite-level club team. But in a league with taller, stronger, and faster girls, Nikki suddenly isn't the best point guard. In fact, she's no longer a point guard at all, which leaves her struggling to figure out who she is and how she fits in.

The stress piles on as Nikki's best friend spends more and more time with another girl on the team, and when her science teacher assigns a family tree project that will be impossible to complete unless Nikki reveals her most embarrassing secret. As if that's not enough to deal with, to cover the costs of her new team, Nikki has agreed to take care of her annoying younger brother after school to save money on childcare.

As the stakes rise on the basketball court, at school, and at home, Nikki's confidence plummets. Can she learn to compete at this new, higher level? And how hard is she willing to work to find out?

About the Author

Barbara Carroll Roberts is a graduate of Hamline University's Writing for Children and Young Adults MFA program. She played competitive sports in high school and always wished there had been books in her library about athletic girls. That desire -- and the realization that there still aren't many books about girls who truly love sports -- inspired her to write this book. She lives outside of Washington, D.C. with her family and their many pets. This is her first novel. You can visit her at

Praise For…

Praise for Nikki on the Line:A Spring 2019 Indies Introduce pickA Spring 2019 Indie Next List pick
"A tremendous book about basketball, taking risks, and becoming your true self."—Gary D. Schmidt, Newbery Honor-winning and bestselling author

"I rooted for Nikki both on and off the court as she navigates changing friendships, tough competition, and the mystery of what makes us who we are."—Wendy Mass, New York Times bestselling author of A Mango-Shaped Space

"In Nikki on the Line, Barbara Carroll Roberts crafts a compelling story of a girl trying to fit the pieces of her identity together at a time when everything around her is shifting. Layered, compassionate, and utterly engrossing."—Anne Ursu, author of The Lost Girl

"This charming and heartfelt debut is perfect for fans of Ali Benjamin and Kwame Alexander."

"This accessible coming-of-age story comes alive in its descriptions of basketball and the game's resulting life lessons."—School Library Journal

"An optimistic middle-grade novel melding heartfelt realistic fiction and sports fare."—Kirkus Reviews

"Readers who enjoy sports stories as well as those who enjoy realistic fiction will instantly connect with Nikki."—School Library Connection

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316521901
ISBN-10: 0316521906
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: March 5th, 2019
Pages: 336
Language: English