cover image Hardball


Steven Barwin. Orca, $9.95 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-4598-0441-8

In this Orca Sports title, written at a fourth-grade reading level, the baseball team at Gulf Coast High is focused on winning games and impressing college scouts. But thanks to star first-baseman (and first-class jerk) Wade, the players are also facing nasty freshman hazing and a steroid scandal. Griffin, the story’s narrator, is believably caught in a tempest of confusing problems, and in a satisfying turn of events, he musters the courage to stand up for what’s right. Baseball fans may wish that more of the action took place on the diamond instead of following the exploits of Wade, the product of a difficult home life, whose deep mean streak makes it hard to see through to his redeeming qualities. Ages 10–up. (Oct.)