Jeremiah Lopper (12) had a heart transplant when he was in third grade. Since then, it has been difficult for him to play baseball. Not ready to give up on his favorite sport, Jeremiah sets a new dream: coaching a baseball team. He is very excited when his adoptive father Walt takes a job in Hillcrest, Ohio. Hillcrest has one of the best high school baseball teams in the country! But then scandal breaks out. The star pitcher dies of a heart attack, the coach is under investigation for steroids, and the once loyal fanbase isn't interested anymore. None of that is helping Jeremiah's plan to revive the middle school baseball team. If he is going to build a team, he first has to rebuild the town's trust. How can he do that as the new kid in town?
BTSYA / Teen Reader (13):
This book is really good. As someone who doesn’t really like baseball, the focus on baseball didn't take away from the story. I love the theme of an eagle soaring that comes up throughout the book, and the message of never giving up is beautifully conveyed. I also really love the humor and lightheartedness. That is something you can always count on in Joan Bauer’s books. The storyline, conflict, and characters are all very unique, and everything ties in together for a feel-good kind of story.
I recommend this book for ages 10 and up. Steroid and drug use are part of the conflict, but there is nothing vulgar and none of the main characters use or advertise it. This would be a great gift for fans of baseball, but you can borrow it from the library as well.
Light-hearted, wholesome, and an uplifting and enjoyable read even if you're not a baseball fan.
There are mentions of steroid use.
This is a story of perseverance, change, and making a difference.
Could your reader do what Jeremiah did? Would they be someone who helped him build the team? Those are just two of the elements in the story. For athletes, it is definitely worth exploring the "winning is everything" subtext that sets up the problems with the teams.
12 and Up
10 and Up
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer's Age: 13
Buy, if you have a young baseball fan in your life!