Bennett Ryan is one of the region's very best basketball players. In fact, she single-handedly led her team to an undefeated State championship. But when she is forced to switch schools in her senior year, she must first fit in with her old rivals on this new team, then face her old team in the most heated playdowns of her young career.
Winner of the 2016 Bolen Books Children's Book Prize
Graduated from the University of Victoria with degrees in languages and education. She is a high school Spanish and English teacher, basketball coach, and volunteers with Special Olympics BC. She enjoys living on the west coast, and when she is not working with youth she can be found reading a good novel in the corner of a cozy café or walking on the beach with her dog Tanner. When Kacey Left was her first young adult novel.
"None of the jurors were basketball fans, but they found it impossible not to respond to the passion for the game that infuses this intelligent coming-of-age novel. Nicely told, believable characters, and interesting developments that explore friendships and what it means to win and lose."
— Jury for the 2016 Bolen Books Children's Book Prize
"Relationships between the girls on the team form the core of the story. Whether main or side characters, the girls on the team have complex emotions; they are not divided into nice or evil, but are taken seriously as human beings. It is a pleasant change to read about girls who are competitive, who talk smack, who have tempers, who take being athletes seriously, who have confidence in their prowess, who aim for sports scholarships and care about sports. The unapologetic attitude of these athletes, even as they make mistakes and work to right their errors, is a strong point. These girls also have messy friendships — friendships ending, wary truces, slowly growing new friendships — and, in Bennett's and Teesha's cases, messy relationships with their mothers who are portrayed as adults with goals and problems of their own rather than as mere antagonists.
Another strong point, and one which may particularly appeal to readers involved in sports, is the contrast in coaching styles and ethics between Coach K of the Storms and Coach Paige of the Lady Lions, both of whom are highly competitive and demanding of their players. Bennett's perspective shift as she looks back at her old team from the outside is an important, if understated, moment in her character development, and her evolving relationships with her coaches past and present reflects her growth
— CM Magazine