Sooley Summary

New York Times bestselling author 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.

In the summer of his seventeenth 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.

Book Reviews


Sooley1 star

Awful book15


Just plain excellent5 star

Loved this book. Not a lawyer novel, but still vintage John Grisham! This book is so well done. I might read it again55


Why1 star

What a boring story - and why do that at the end - I waited for pages for something to happen - and then that - nope, not his best and certainly a brand dilution15


Great book until...4 star

...the ending! What a disappointment! Still a good read overall.45


Great story5 star

Good story. Not sure that I like the ending though. I’ve had disappointment with some of Grisham’s endings but I’ll take this one and shut up.55

Mike H 66

Excellent5 star

This was such a good book. You don’t have to know anything about basketball, as myself, to enjoy. I rarely give 5 stars - this one deserved it.55

jost process the review

I hated it1 star

Stick with what you know John15


Waste of money1 star

This was not worth the 14.99 plus tax. The endless basketball and recruitment talk was boring. There was barely much of a real story going on. Ending was quick and I hardly felt any sadness about what happened to the star bc the book was too boring!15


Not just a basketball story5 star

John Grisham takes the heartbreak of the South Sudan and American college basketball and weaves a heartwarming story. The reader soon appreciates the power of sports to create escape, community and growth. The story is well written, as are all Grisham books. The basketball games are well narrated and give the reader the anticipation of being at a game.55


Sooley5 star

John Grisham never ceases to amaze. This story touch my soul. I hated to see it end. Sequel anytime soon?55

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