The Perfect Shot

  • Interest Level: Grade 6 - Grade 12
  • Reading Level: Grade 6

Someone murdered Brian’s girfriend, Amanda. The police think it was her father. Brian isn’t so sure. But everyone he knows is telling him to move on, get over it, focus on the present. Focus on basketball. Focus on hitting the perfect shot. Brian hopes that the system will work for Amanda and her father. An innocent man couldn’t be wrongly convicted, could he?

But then Brian does a school project on Leo Frank, a Jewish man lynched decades ago for the murder of a teenage girl—a murder he didn’t commit. Worse still, Brian’s teammate Julius gets arrested for nothing more than being a black kid in the wrong place at the wrong time. Brian can’t deny any longer that the system is flawed.

As Amanda’s father goes on trial, Brian admits to himself that he knows something that could break the case. But if he comes forward, will the real killer try for another perfect shot—this time against Brian?

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Grade 6 - Grade 12
Reading Level Grade 6
Genre Young Adult
Copyright 2005
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Carolrhoda Lab ®
Language English
Number of Pages 360
Publication Date 2011-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 6.8
Text Type Fiction—Mystery
BISACS YAF042000, YAF024170, YAF058190
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 5.5 x 8.25
Lexile 920
ATOS Reading Level 6.1
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 101802
Accelerated Reader® Points 14.0
Features Author/Illustrator biography, Awards, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews


  • ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Gold Award, Winner, 2005
  • VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers, Winner, 2005


Kirkus Reviews

“With basketball action, a murder mystery, a compelling story from history, adolescent angst, racial and parental tension, Alphin offers something to please most young readers.”
Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly

“Alphin (Picture Perfect) scores big with this novel. . . the author’s portrayal of Brian’s slow awakening to a sense of personal integrity and responsibility – even at great personal cost – is convincing, and may well get readers thinking.”
Publishers Weekly

School Library Journal

“This novel will resonate with readers long after the final page.”
Starred Review, School Library Journal

Author: Elaine Marie Alphin

Since her first novel for young readers appeared in 1991, Elaine Marie Alphin published 27 books for young people and one for adults (about writing for young people). Elaine wrote for readers of all ages, from Davy Crockett in Lerner's History Makers series for beginning readers up through teenage mysteries such as Counterfeit Son, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Young Adult mystery. Elaine loved research, and that love impacted all of her writing, from biographies for middle grade readers like I Have Not Yet Begun To Fight: A Story About John Paul Jones in the Creative Minds series through young adult fiction such as the history-inspired mystery, The Perfect Shot to the stand-alone nonfiction young adult book An Unspeakable Crime: The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank.