Mike Lupica, Author . Philomel $16.99 (220p) ISBN 978-0-399-24301-1

Michael Arroyo's life is heating up in several ways—some of them unpleasant. The Cuban-born 12-year-old and his older brother, Carlos, have been living alone in their Bronx apartment since the death of their father several months earlier. Afraid they will be split up before Carlos turns 18 and can become Michael's legal guardian, the two have only confided the news of their parent's passing to Michael's supportive best friend and a kind elderly neighbor who looks out for the siblings. The boys' elaborately staged ruse ostensibly convinces an official with the children's services administration that their father is still caring for them. On another front, ace pitcher Michael is barred from playing on his all-star baseball team—on track for earning a spot in the Little League World Series—when opposing coaches file a petition accusing the boy of being older than 12 and efforts to procure a copy of his birth certificate from Cuba are unsuccessful. But warming up Michael's life in a positive way is his new friendship with a beautiful, elusive girl who turns out to be the daughter of a celebrated Yankees pitcher. The finale may stretch readers' credibility, and at times the drawn-out dialogue slackens the novel's pacing. But convincing characterization and exciting on-field action help Lupica (Travel Team ) throw out a baseball story with heart. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/20/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
Genre: Children's
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-101-22147-1
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-307-28597-3
Open Ebook - 978-1-4295-2709-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-7393-2933-7
Prebound-Glued - 220 pages - 978-0-7569-8131-0
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-1-4295-2710-1
Compact Disc - 6 pages - 978-0-307-28441-9
Paperback - 220 pages
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