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Contributor(s): Northrop, Michael

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ISBN: 0545297141     ISBN-13: 9780545297141
Publisher: Scholastic Pr
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Binding Type: Hardcover - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: March 2012
* Not available - Not in print at this time *
Annotation: Landing a starting position on the Little League team and looking forward to an exciting season, sixth-grade slugger Jack Mogens is injured by a powerful stray pitch during his first game and confronts a difficult physical and psychological healing process. By the author of Gentlemen.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Baseball; Fiction.
Schools; Fiction.
Fear; Fiction.
BISAC Categories:
- Juvenile Fiction | Sports & Recreation | Baseball & Softball
- Juvenile Fiction | Social Issues | Self-esteem & Self-reliance
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2011032737
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 4-6, Age 9-11
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.75" H x 5.50" W x 1.00" (0.40 lbs) 247 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): IV>Michael Northrop has written short fiction for WEIRD TALES, the NOTRE DAME REVIEW, and MCSWEENEY'S. His debut novel, GENTLEMEN, earned him a PW Flying Start, and his YA thriller, TRAPPED, was published in 2011 to great acclaim. An editor at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED KIDS for many years, he now writes full-time from his home in New York City. You can visit him online at www.michaelnorthrop.net.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall)
Jack Mogens, obsessed with baseball, offers a play-by-play account of his life as a sixth grader in small-town Tall Pines. A big tournament is in his future, but he is unprepared for an incident at home plate that threatens his baseball skills and challenges his courage. Crisp dialogue, realistic characters, and humorous moments enhance the story.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2012 February #1)

Sixth-grader Jack Mogens thinks his big worry for the new baseball season is whether he'll win the starting position in left field. Instead, his preoccupation becomes the inside pitch, after he gets clouted in the head with one on opening day. Fear sets in when, at the next batting practice, Jack is hit again, by a nasty teammate (nicknamed "Malfoy"). This is how a lot of youth sports careers end, and many athletes will recognize themselves in Jack's predicament. Though Jack is invested in baseball as a player, a fan, and a collector of cards and memorabilia, he is terrified of embarrassing himself by bailing out on a pitch again. YA author Northrop's (Trapped) first middle-grade novel underscores how the professionalization of youth sports has benched common sense—even Jack's well-meaning parents don't suggest he take some time off after the doctor diagnoses a mild concussion. Though there is well-written baseball action, this is really a story about a boy giving his lifelong dream serious reconsideration. An uncommonly thoughtful baseball novel. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Mar.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2012 April)

Gr 4–7—Well-developed characters and a strong narrative voice make this novel about much more than baseball. Jack Mogens is ready for his sixth season of Little League. He has a good arm, he's a decent hitter, and he thinks he has a shot at being the starting left fielder for the Tall Pines Braves. But when he gets hit during the first game and ends up being treated for a mild concussion, his lack of confidence about inside pitches turns into real trepidation. Nightmares about being frozen in place as the ball comes toward his head don't help matters, and he finds himself trying to hide his fear of batting from the rest of the team. Things only get worse after a vindictive teammate drills him in the ribs during practice, and suddenly Jack is making excuses to his coach, his parents, and his friends about why he can't play. He seriously considers quitting the team, even though it has been an integral part of his life and his friendships over the years. Throughout the story, as he relates events during the school day and outside of the practices and games, his self-effacing humor is pitch-perfect for a sixth grader. But it is during his soul-searching about whether he can move beyond his fears that the adolescent poignancy and lack of confidence really come through. The dialogue is fresh, the pace moves nicely, and readers will enjoy seeing how Jack finally manages to get his head and his heart back into the game.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

[Page 172]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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