Downhill was originally published under the title Slalom (with very few books remaining out there) and is now published under the title Downhill (recommended by students).
Sandro Birch is a born skier. In fact, his mother met his father on the slopes and she's told the story so many times he's sick of it. Handsome Italian Olympic hopeful saves All-American Scholarship Girl. Except the handsome Italian left. Seventeen years later, Sandro and his mother are still living at the ski resort. She thinks her true love will come back; Sandro knows he won't. Then fate steps in. Alessandro does come back. And suddenly townie Sandro Birch has a shot at the ski team, a girlfriend, and a real family--if he conquers his anger and learns how to trust.
From Booklist: Gr. 6-8. Even before the snow flies, teen skiers can enjoy this fast-paced story, which takes place in a fictional mountain town, perhaps modeled on Vail or Aspen. Sandro, who works at a ski shop to help his single mom make ends meet, must come to terms with the sudden appearance of his father, a glamorous Italian ski racer who left Sandro's mom without ever knowing she was pregnant. At the same time, Sandro is having his own girl problems and feeling pressured to join the ski team, even though he can't afford to. The resolution is a bit too neat to be satisfying, but passages conveying both the excitement of ski racing and the pleasure of cruising the trails will appeal to skiing fans, and the jam-packed story line will keep the interest of kids who prefer to read by the fire. REVWR
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