In baseball, fielding your position at third base is tricky—that's why third is called "the hot corner." You have to be aware that anything can happen at any time.
This should be the best year of Scott's life: It's his last season of varsity ball, his team is about to go to the city championship, and a pro career is on the line. Instead, everything he always counted on comes crashing down at the same time, and his whole life is like one blazing hot corner—full of deadly line drives and crazy "bad hops."
Scott can't believe the awful stuff coming his way, but it's time to find out whether he has what it takes to play the hot corner—on the baseball diamond and off it.
With a compelling twist on a coming-out story, Trueman's (Stuck in Neutral) novel stars 18-year-old Scott Latimer, a baseball fanatic who plays third base (the "hot corner" of the title) for his high school's team. Scott's world is thrown into disarray when his best friend, Travis, reveals that he's gay during the citywide baseball tournament. Now, in addition to worrying about playing well in the seven-day tournament, Scott anxiously awaits the results of an HIV test that he gets in secret: he fears he may have contracted AIDS after a batting cage incident, in which he wound up with Travis's blood on his hands. When Travis's parents kick their son out of the house, thinking he may influence his younger brother, Travis moves in with Scott's family, causing additional tension between the two best friends. An article in the high school newspaper anonymously relates Travis's struggles as a gay high school senior, and Scott fears that his classmates might think he's gay as well if they discover the article is about Travis. Scott wrestles with gripping fear about potentially having contracted AIDS, anger that his best friend kept his sexuality a secret from him for so many years, confusion about his own and his fellow classmates' prejudices, and concern for Travis's safety. Readers will likely be affected by this emotional journey of a kid who would have been happy to limit his concerns to catching blazing line drives and working toward a shot at the major leagues. Ages 12-up.