Hitting a home run is like taking the perfect photo: “you can just tell” when you nail it. But Pete’s injury means he’s photographing more than hitting.
Scholastic Reading Counts
Sonnenblick adds to his growing list of distinguished YA novels with this tale of a youngster whose dreams of baseball glory are crushed when an injury ruins his pitching arm. Realizing that his baseball career is over, Peter Friedman, 13, turns to sports photography, in emulation of his beloved grandfather, who was a professional photographer. It soon becomes evident, however, that Grampa is slipping into senility. Peter feels that his parents are unwilling to accept this reality, and so he attempts to deal with his grandfather’s growing impairment on his own, with near-catastrophic results. He also keeps the extent of his arm injury secret from his best friend, the popular and outgoing AJ, who continues to make plans for their mutual success on the diamond. With the help of wise and sassy Angelika, a fellow photographer, Peter confronts the evasions and equivocations he has used to avoid dealing with the difficult issues in his life. Peter’s development flows naturally out of the action of the novel, and the lessons he learns seem like an integral part of the characters’ interaction. The dialogue sparkles, and Peter’s conversations with the randy, politically incorrect AJ are often laugh-out-loud funny. Another winner that can be confidently recommended to readers, athletes or not.—Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT