cover image The Second Base Club

The Second Base Club

Greg Trine, Holt, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8967-7

Smart-alecky yet sensitive sophomore Elroy is desperate to snag his first girlfriend—ideally, gorgeous Marisa from his geometry class (who's an 8.65 out of 10 as far as he's concerned). When Marisa gives him the dreaded "I just want to be friends" line, Elroy redoubles his efforts to impress girls, joining the wrestling team and starting a rock band. He also stumbles on the Second Base Club, a group of popular guys who keep score of their conquests, and is both intrigued and disgusted. Luckily for Elroy, Juana Maria, a cute co-worker, helps him see that being himself is easier than trying to be someone else to get a girl. The story has an episodic feel, and Elroy's thoughts can be overly self-aware ("True I was hanging out with the head in-crowder, but I'd hurt two people to get there.... Two very good friends"), as though Trine (the Melvin Beederman, Superhero series) doesn't trust readers to reach their own conclusions. But fans of recent bawdy coming-of-age stories by Don Calame and Brent Crawford should enjoy this journey to self-discovery and maybe even a girlfriend. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)