Baseball season is almost here. So I will be reviewing more baseball books. The first book I read by this author was Heart of a Champion. It was a few years ago and I loved it. Its one of the best middle grade baseball novels out. Deuker is one of the best sports novelist for young readers.
Ryan Ward loves the game of baseball. In middle school he was a very good player, after an injury he could no longer play. The novel begins with Ryan starting his senior year of high school. Ryan becomes friends with his new next door neighbor Josh, a senior an ace pitcher and quarter back. It's still summer break when the two meet. They get into a comfortable rhythm with Ryan becoming the accidental catcher so Josh can stay fresh. Ryan takes to his new position like a natural.
Josh is a very gifted athlete who gives off the impression that he is better then everyone else. The people around him feed into that, including Ryan.
"Ever since football season started, you've been a lost soul. You're always looking across the street, hoping to see Josh. You're totally wrapped up in him, but he's got no time for you. It's not healthy. " "Is all this because Josh backed out on the Seahawks game? Because I can explain that" "It's deeper than that, Ryan. It's always been there right from the day you met him. There's something in your voice when you talk about him - something I've never liked. It's like you think he's about you. Like you think he is doing you a favor by being your friend." "Listen , Dad, I am lucky he's my friend. Josh has greatness in him."
The author does a excellent job so study the dynamic of Ryan and Josh's friendship. As well as Ryan's insecurities. Deuker also touches upon the free passes male athletes are given when they win. With Josh as QB the schools football team has a winning season. In the lunchroom, the teacher turns the other way when the football players get a little too rowdy and begin to rate the female students. In the end Ryan, a well rounded character, must make a decision that may cost his team the championship. Like Heart of a Champion the action is spot and the story extends beyond the baseball field. ages 13up
Read an excerpt