cover image Grass and Sky

Grass and Sky

Lisa Rowe Fraustino. Orchard Books (NY), $15.95 (155pp) ISBN 978-0-531-06823-6

First-novelist Fraustino introduces a refreshingly unorthodox heroine--Timmi Lafler, starting pitcher on her baseball team and an avid reader of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine . The 11-year-old is not at all pleased when her father announces that the family will be visiting Grampy at his cabin on a Maine lake. Not only will Timmi miss what she considers the best two weeks of baseball season, but she still resents that her paternal grandfather never answered the letters she painstakingly wrote to him five years earlier. She stubbornly and relentlessly rebuts the elderly--and obviously ailing--man's kind overtures and is downright unpleasant at times. But as Timmi learns about Grampy's past (he is a recovering alcoholic) and the truth about the breakdown of his relationship with Timmi's father, her resistance melts and she makes peace with Grampy before his death. Though Fraustino's novel contains solid, believable characters and several affecting scenes, some turns of plot just don't ring true (including Timmi's sudden, 11th-hour recollection of a nasty confrontation between her father and grandfather that took place when she was in kindergarten). Unfortunately, heavy foreshadowing makes for a predictable outcome. Ages 9-13. (Apr.)