Sonnenblick, Jordan. Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip.
Scholastic Press, coming out TODAY!
Peter is a hotshot baseball pitcher who works well with his lunkhead friend AJ until a serious elbow injury makes it impossible for him to pitch or play ball ever again. Peter's grandfather is a wedding photographer who has always encouraged Peter to take pictures, so Peter starts out the year in 9th grade taking Intro to Photography, but soon gets moved to the advanced class. Moving with him is Angelika, a smart mouthed but cute girl who shares his interests. When Peter's grandfather suddenly gives him all of his photography equipment, Peter is grateful but also worried about the mental lapses that his grandfather has been having. He and Angelika are made the coeditors of the yearbook sports photo division, so spend a lot of time together. AJ still thinks that Peter will end up pitching and tries to get him to get ready for try outs. He and Angelika become closer but also face some challenges. The grandfather's condition continues to deteriorate. All of these threads draw together for a very satisfying ending. San Lee from Zen and the Art of Faking It makes a few cameo appearances!
Strengths: I cannot do justice to this book. It is truly an awesome piece of fiction. I laughed hysterically, but I also cried in the end. NO ONE writes like Sonnenblick, although I wish that I could. The characters are complex but likable, the relationships true-to-life and poignant, and the scene where Peter inadvertently ends up with a hangover-- so, so funny. But with a lesson! I need five copies. Seriously.
Weaknesses: Not only can I not adequately describe this, it made me go all fan girly. I actually looked to see if Mr. Sonnenblick happened to be appearing anywhere near me so I could go and shake his hand. I want to write half as well as he does.
On the upside, Anthony Horowitz might be safe from me stalking him for a while!