Knowing the Score by Ros Roberts

Knowing the Score – at a glance

The School Reading Lists’ five word review: Family secrets, love, tennis, responsibility.
Children’s book title: Knowing the Score.
Children’s author: Ros Roberts.
Genre: Children’s fiction.
Published by: Little Tiger .
ISBN: 9781788956765.
Recommended for children aged: 9-12 year-olds.
First published: Paperback May 2024.
This children’s book is ideal for: Discussing secrets which are kept for the wrong reasons and how it becomes harder to talk about them the longer you wait. Determining what makes a happy family or whether an ideal definition of what that is actually exists.

Knowing the Score

To see the latest price or order, click on the book cover image.

Our review:

Gemma lives with her mum, and loves their life together, but knows there are secrets which keep them estranged from their only relatives. She never thinks about her dad, and her mum never mentions him either. Now, at the end of year six, she is finishing junior school but their plans for the summer holidays change when her mum, Carrie, is invited on a very special cruise for a whole month! To Gemma’s delight, she’s able to stay with her gran and uncle who she rarely gets to spend any time with. But it’s the tennis course her Uncle Joe has signed her up for she’s not sure about!

When she first arrives at the tennis club she is surprised to be welcomed like an old friend but not as surprised, it seems, as everyone else, who can’t believe she’s never played before! As no one will explain what they meant Gemma decides to just go for it and is amazed to discover that not only does she love playing, but she is actually quite good at it!

After another player tells her she has tennis in her blood Gemma knows she has to get to the bottom of all the secrets, especially as she starts to be asked about her dad who she knows nothing about. There’s no way her mum’s going to wriggle out of telling her everything when she gets home, at least she hopes not, because Gemma has no intention of losing contact with the rest of her family and her newfound friends!

Our verdict:

What a lovely, positive book. You don’t need to be hooked on tennis to enjoy this as everything is explained clearly. Gemma is a mature, instantly relatable, main protagonist whose vulnerabilities mean you cheer her on throughout and her gradual improvement as she plays, alongside the confidence she gains with her new friends, makes this such a feel good read.

The secrets her mum has been keeping start to unravel once Gemma spends time with her family and she gradually begins to see things from more than one point of view. The other children on the course are a big part of this story and, as they are all of differing ages, their experiences are varied and interesting to read about.

The tennis aspects aren’t such a major part of this book that nothing else matters and thankfully Gemma isn’t immediately expert enough to be entering Wimbledon any time soon! Instead, she gradually improves her game as she forges a good relationship with her uncle and strengthens the one with her gran.

Teaching points and book club discussion ideas:

  • There are plenty of opportunities to discuss what might happen next for Gemma and her family as well as some of the other characters in this book.
  • Social media is also depicted in a positive way as Gemma regularly messages her friends back at home and speaks to her mum as they enjoy their holidays.
  • Trigger warning for the death of a parent.

Many thanks to Little Tiger for the review copy.

To order a class set of this book, please click below to order via, an organisation that supports local bookshops, or

Buy from UK.Bookshop.Org Buy from

Disclosure: If you buy books using the buttons above: we may earn a commission from, whose fees support independent bookshops; as an Amazon Associate earns from qualifying purchases.

If you like Knowing the Score by Ros Roberts you might also like: our reviews of The Final Year by Matt Goodfellow, illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton, Secret Sister by Sophie McKenzie, Nowhere Island by Tania Unsworth and Bringing Back Kay-Kay by Dev Kothari.

Browse our  Year 6 reading list and our Year 7 reading list.

About Tracy Wood

Photo of author
I am a voracious reader and used to be a learning support assistant in a senior school for eight years before leaving to home school my now adult daughter. I have ten grandchildren who I love reading to and spending time with. Reviews by Tracy Wood