cover image Three Strike Summer

Three Strike Summer

Skyler Schrempp. McElderry, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5344-9914-0

Debut author Schrempp’s uplifting Dust Bowl–era novel centers around determined Gloria Mae Willard who, along with her parents and older sister Jessamyn, head to find work in California after the bank takes their Oklahoma farm. Gloria, still grieving the death of her baby brother, resents her parents for allowing the family to leave home behind and, later, to live in a rundown shack on a “factory farm” where they harvest peaches in oppressive heat for long hours and low pay. She also resents never being allowed to play baseball, despite having an arm so good that she once “cracked five birds outta the sky.” After learning about a makeshift team of boys from the orchard, Gloria risks breaking the farm’s strict rules, against organizing in groups and leaving the fenced-in areas, to prove she can play ball. Gloria’s forthright narration showcases her tenacity and burning sense of injustice, which transforms her parents’ resignation into resolve, providing an admirable maturation arc alongside a vividly rendered, emotionally vulnerable account of the harsh conditions faced by migrant workers. An author’s note provides historical context. Characters present as white. Ages 8–12. Agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Aug.)