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Children's Fiction Lgbt

On the Line

by (author) Paul Coccia & Eric Walters

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Mar 2022
LGBT, Marriage & Divorce, Basketball
Recommended Age
9 to 12
Recommended Grade
4 to 8
Recommended Reading age
9 to 12
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Mar 2022
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Thirteen-year-old basketball star Jordan Ryker feels like his life is falling apart.

All Jordie wanted was for his parents to stop fighting. Soon, he gets his wish. His parents separate and then his dad announces he’s gay. Shocked, Jordie struggles with how to process all this. His dad taught him everything he knows about basketball, and there’s an important championship game coming up. He needs him more than ever. But Jordie feels like his dad has abandoned his family. He doesn’t want anything to do with him now and he definitely doesn't want to meet his dad’s new boyfriend. It takes a new girl with wicked basketball skills and a revelation from his best friend to help Jordie realize that while some things change, other things never do.

The epub edition of this title is fully accessible.

About the authors

Paul Coccia is the author of The Player and the bestselling Orca Soundings title Cub, which was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. He has an MFA in creative writing from UBC and lives in Toronto with his family.


Paul Coccia's profile page

Eric Walters is the author of many acclaimed and bestselling novels for children and young adults. His novels have won numerous awards, including the Silver Birch, Blue Heron, Red Maple, Snow Willow, Ruth Schwartz, and Tiny Torgi, and have received honours from the Canadian Library Association Book Awards and UNESCO's international award for Literature in Service of Tolerance.

Eric lives in Mississauga with his wife, Anita, and three children, Christina, Nicholas, and Julia. When not writing or touring across the country speaking to school groups, Eric spends time playing or watching soccer and basketball, or playing the saxophone.

To find out more about Eric and his novels, or to arrange for him to speak at your school, visit his website at

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Eric Walters' profile page


  • Short-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award (RMBA)
  • Nominated, Forest of Reading Red Maple Award
  • Winner, Rocky Mountain Book Award (RMBA) - Richard Allen Chase Memorial Reward
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection

Editorial Reviews

“An emotional, thought-provoking journey exploring identity, with a basketball backdrop.”


“The pairing of superstar author Eric Walters with relative newcomer Paul Coccia is nothing short of brilliant. The result is a thoughtful, engaging story of basketball, cars, trucks, friends and family and what happens in a small town when it is revealed that someone is gay. This is a heartfelt story that is sure to appeal to Walters's fans and will propel Coccia to a wider audience. Very highly recommended.”

Ken Setterington, author of the Stonewall Honor Book <i>Branded by the Pink Triangle</i> and <i>Righting Canada’s Wrongs: The LGBT Purge and the fight for equal rights in Canada</i>

“A story that challenges young readers to see beyond themselves and from different perspectives and with compassion for the struggles that others may be experiencing.”

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Readers will embrace the language and style of the book…This is a coming-of-age story with a real-life scenario that teenagers, or those they know, could face.”

School Library Connection

On the Line navigates emotionally charged themes with compassion and honesty. The dynamic basketball setting will appeal to its middle-grade audience along with its cast of well-drawn and endearing characters. A touching and refreshing story of a young teen learning what it means to love unconditionally.”

Michelle Kadarusman, author of <i>Music for Tigers</i>

“A relationship-driven story.”

Kirkus Reviews

On The Line is a heartwarming story about a 13-year-old boy named Jordan, who is put in a situation that requires great maturation. Jordan’s growth involves navigating around new obstacles surrounding homophobia, sexism and masculinity. Through all of the pain Jordan experiences, basketball is the guiding light that offers support when needed and catalyzes him to reflect when he’s ready. Perhaps the most beautiful aspect of the book is the relationships between characters and how they develop. The friendships are immensely powerful and act as a great example of what to strive for. This story brought tears to my eyes because I can relate to how sport has the ability to be the space where one feels comfortable when everything around them seems to be falling apart. I was also really impacted by seeing the reality of how one’s actions have a ripple effect on those around them, including how quickly word can spread throughout a community. A must-read for anyone in the LGBTQ+ community, allies, athletes or anyone with a beating heart!”

Chris Voth, Canada’s first openly gay national team athlete

“Beautifully and realistically rendered…Shines a light on the restorative power of best friends and caring family…Both straight and LGBTQ+ readers will love a work created by two outstanding writers who, as it turns out, are greater than the sum of their storytelling parts. Highly Recommended.”

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

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Other titles by Eric Walters

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