Like the game of baseball, life is quirky and unpredictable, as Shane Hunter discovers in the spring of his sophomore year. Suddenly and without warning his life of privilege is turned upside down. And just as suddenly, life begins to seem utterly without fairness or purpose to him.
Exciting, well-written sports scenes transport readers right into the stands while complex issues engage their hearts and minds. For here is a novel of loss, of morality, and of the rare, redemptive power of baseball. Can speaking the truth really determine lives? Just how does one accept, move on, and begin doing the right thing?
Narrator Shane Hunter is the "closer" for his high school baseball team the treasured pitcher whose job is to take to the mound in the crucial final innings of a game. Baseball is Shane's world, his identity ("I focus on home plate, the catcher's glove, and the ball in my hand. When that's my whole world, I'm in control"). But the sophomore's world is shaken when his father, who owns a luxury car dealership, is arrested for money laundering while he is watching one of Shane's games. In a rapid spiral of events, Shane loses his father, his upscale home, his entire world. Suddenly poverty-stricken, he and his mother and sister move into a tiny run-down apartment, and the kids must attend public school for the first time. Perhaps worst of all, he loses his love for baseball. In a pivotal moment of darkness, Shane intentionally hits a batter, putting him in the hospital. But as the story progresses, he and the injured boy work out their demons together, through the game that has meant so much to them both. Deuker (Night Hoops) fills the pages with dozens of exciting play-by-play sequences; these serve not only to move the story along chronologically, but also act as the metronome for Shane's personal story of loss, recovery and renewal. It is a dark story in the first half, but the arc of redemption reminds readers that love conquers all as does the pursuit of personal excellence. Ages 12-up.
I read this book in jr. High and I couldn't put it down. I'm now in my 20's and I wanted to find it again. So happy I did.
Very Good Book
I read it in middle school I believe and couldn't stop reading it and I'm not even much of a book reader.
My all-time favorite book. I've read it 10 times and it gets even better ever time.