Carl Deuker, Author . Houghton $16 (288p) ISBN 978-0-618-31117-0

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. (May)

Reviewed on: 05/19/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Other - 345 pages - 978-0-606-33335-1
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-7569-4603-6
Mass Market Paperbound - 345 pages - 978-0-06-057248-8
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-544-43955-9
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-547-52869-4
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