Although this is a book about a boy successful in sports, it is much more in terms of social commentary. Eddie Ball is a young boy living with his mother in a small trailer; since his father died they have been struggling to survive financially. Annie is a young African-American girl whose mother died when she was young so she lives with her father in another trailer. Both parents work for the Finkle snack company, Finkles are high calorie and fat snack foods and it is one of the town's main employers. Annie and Eddie become best friends almost immediately, creating problems between Eddie and his male friends.
The Finkle company holds a contest where young people submit their poems and the winner will be allowed to shoot one foul shot during halftime of the first game of the NBA finals. If the shot is made, the shooter wins a million dollars; a miss and they get nothing more than their expenses for the trip. While Eddie has no talent for poetry, Annie does and she writes a simple poem that Eddie submits under his own name. Eddie wins the contest and he begins preparations for his big chance. Annie's father is a former college basketball star so he becomes Eddie's coach. Both Eddie's and Annie's parents are laid off from their jobs, giving Eddie even more incentive to make the shot.
Eddie goes through some difficult times, the owner of the Finkle Company offers Eddie a bribe to deliberately miss the shot and there is some additional harassment. Through it all, Eddie learns a lot about the need to work for success and he faces the challenge very well. He is thrown off a bit when he sees his mother and Annie's father embracing as he does not want to give up the memory of his father.
The strength of this book is in the social commentary, the simple friendship between Eddie and Annie, the treatment of the interracial romance as just another romance and the dirty tricks of a corporate personality all are problems faced daily in the United States. In this book, they are treated as context to the real story, which allows them to be a significant part of the story, yet be dealt with in a realistic and less intense manner.