cover image The Only Game: A Home Team Novel

The Only Game: A Home Team Novel

Mike Lupica, read by Keith Nobbs. S&S Audio, unabridged, 5 CDs, 6 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-7641-0

Seventh grader Jack Callahan is his team's star pitcher and shortstop, so everyone is shocked when he quits baseball during the lead-up to the Little League World Series. "My heart's not in it," he tells his disappointed parents, before spilling the real reason he's abandoning the team: "Baseball won't bring my brother back." Lupica thoughtfully explores Jack's belief that he could have saved his daredevil older brother, Brad, who died the previous year in a dirt-bike accident. While Callahan sorts out his life and the events of the past year, he slowly finds a new crowd of friends at school who show him a life beyond baseball. Nobbs reads with a strong narrative voice that has good emphasis, timing, and tone, especially when delivering the weight of emotionally tense scenes. But when it comes to providing the voices for the colorful slew of other characters, Nobbs's narration is either flat or overly caricatured. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (Feb.)