Lupica, Mike. Heavy Hitters: Game Changers #3
25 February 2014, Scholastic
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Ben and his friends are back, and this time, they are playing baseball. Not just any baseball, they are all on the All-Star Team after the regular baseball season. In their first game, Ben gets hits hard in the arm by a pitch that came a little too close. While he's not all that injured, he's spooked. Justin is also having a hard time on the field-- after being put out for one game because he threw his bat, he wants to talk to Ben. In typical 11-year-old boy fashion, Ben forgets about Justin, who then gets into a pet about it, so Ben ends up biking all the way out to Justin's house-- where he finds a for sale sign in the yard. It only gets worse. Justin's parents are getting divorced and his mother is moving him to her hometown an hour away. Justin is trying to keep his temper in check, but is considering dropping off the team. Lily has a plan to get him back, but even the Core Four (plus one) can't improve Justin's mood enough. He does make time to work with Ben on his shyness with the ball, but when the Rams make it to a game against the snotty Pat Seely, he again exhibits enough temper to get him thrown out of a game. Ben feels strongly that Justin needs the chance to make one more good memory before he moves, and makes a plea for his teammate, who is allowed to play in the championship game.
Strengths: I actually understand baseball, having played softball in Little League and seen many of my brother's games, so I was able to follow the plays in this. The championship game in this book might well be the best sports description I have ever read. I was literally on the edge of my seat waiting to see who would win, and I could feel all of the emotions that the boys were feeling. Awesome stuff. Add to this some heartfelt real life problems, as well as characters I have really come to like, and this is an excellent addition to a very popular series.
Weaknesses: The ages of the characters seems too young for the depth of emotion and character that they show. I wish that they were all portrayed as being in 8th grade, because I think their high school careers could be very interesting.
Here's an oldie but a goodie. Waaaaay back in 2006, I was an Office Max Superhero Teacher and still have about 500 comic books in the back room. Now it's online, too!
That's me challenging Dr. Doom on page 16.
I need some new publicity!