Tuesday, December 3, 2013


By Jordan Sonnenblick
Published by Scholastic Press
Copyright © 2012

Review by Anthony Kendrick

Little known facts: Curveballs can ruin a young arm. Alzheimer’s disease can ruin a caregiver’s sanity. Dishonesty and poor communication can ruin a relationship.

Peter Friedman loves baseball more than anything else. Unfortunately baseball doesn’t come as easy to him as it does for his best friend AJ. Sure, Peter is an All-Star pitcher, but in order to get there he has waged a battle with his arm and his arm has won. Now heading into his freshman year, which he thought would be a breeze as a stud pitcher for the JV squad; Peter has learned that he will never play baseball again. In addition he is quickly realizing that his grandfather is falling victim to Alzheimer’s disease. If it weren’t for Angelika, Peter’s photography class partner that he really likes, Peter wouldn’t know who to talk to about his problems. Although it is nice to have someone to talk to, Peter can’t seem to bring himself to talk to the people who really need to hear what is going on, and this may ultimately drive Angelika away.

Sonnenblick has written an enjoyable middle school/high school novel replete with personal tragedy, family drama, sports, and love. I really appreciated how this story emphasizes what things define us. When we lose a dream (e.g. Peter and Baseball) we haven’t necessarily lost our identity. The old saying is that “when one door closes, another opens” and Peter finds that out. But his new activity isn’t what defines him either; it is the way he thinks, acts, and how he treats others that define what kind of person he is, and it is that which makes Angelika like him.

I thought that Sonnenblick did a good job highlighting the importance of honesty as well. Relationships of any kind are built on open and honest communication, which is something that Peter has a little trouble with. He also illustrates what the consequences of not communicating openly can be, especially when it comes to talking with his parents about his grandfather’s Alzheimers.

Overall I really liked this book. I love baseball and I love photography, neither of which am I good at myself. I also love realistic fiction that features young men who learn the importance of being good people who are open about their thoughts and feelings, and who learn that they don’t have to try to take care of everything themselves.  This book will definitely speak to teens who have had sports injuries and with those who are dealing with the tragedy of having a relative with Alzheimer’s.

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