cover image Game Changer

Game Changer

Margaret Peterson Haddix. Simon & Schuster, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-689-87380-5

Eighth-grader KT Sutton lives to play softball. She has a roomful of trophies, parents who cater to her every athletic need, and a list of childhood goals tacked up in her room with sayings like, “The University of Arizona will beg me to pitch for them.” Then, without warning or explanation, she’s thrust into an alternate world where athletic skills are taught in school for grades, but after-school academic competitions are all anyone cares about. KT’s geeky 12-year-old brother, Max, is now a mathletic rock star; her softball teammates don’t want to be seen with her; and her parents find her an annoyance and a disappointment. Though KT’s fierceness and determination to do what she loves are admirable, Haddix’s message about the overimportance of sports in contemporary society is heavy-handed. Only when KT learns that Max also remembers the “real world,” and the two of them team up, does the story find its warmth and heart. Haddix (The Always War) pulls out a touching ending after a journey designed mostly to teach a lesson. Ages 12–up. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (Oct.)