Green, Tim. Home Run. (Baseball Great #4)
23 February 2016, HarperCollins
ARC from Young Adult Books Central
Josh's father, never the most responsible adult, decides to take a coaching position in Florida and leave Josh, his mother and young sister in Syracuse. This makes sense, since his parents are divorced, and he's leaving his girlfriend, Diane, too. Josh is understandably upset comes up with a plan to run away just for the night, hoping to bring his parents back to a shared purpose. This backfires, and Josh ends up moving to Florida with his father and starting a new school and a new team. He's not there for long until he gets a panicked call from his mother; without Josh's child support, she's going to lose the house. Josh moves back home, and starts preparing for the fall ball season with a new coach. He hopes that he can win a home run contest that provides the champion with a new home, especially once his mother loses her job. His friend Jaden is hoping to win a journalism scholarship, and find out information about their new coach, but when she pursues the story, the coach threatens to ban Josh from the game. If he can't play, he can't make the home runs he needs to win the house. Will Josh be able to support his friend and make his own dreams come true?
This fourth book in the Baseball Great series (Baseball Great, Rivals, Best of the Best) continues several of the story lines from other books, and we get to spend more time with the characters. Josh's family has struggled with the divorce, and Josh's anger at both of his parents is very true-to-life. Benji continues to be a supportive friend and team mate, even if he really needs to lay of guzzling junk food and run more laps! Jaden's drive to be a journalist seems a little anachronistic, but it's good to see a young person with goals.
This is a little lighter on the sports action because so much is going on, but the Titans still get involved in lots of close-call games. I didn't know that there were such very elite travel teams that got sponsored by major companies like Nike, and I know sports fans like to imagine that they are on a team like the Titans, playing in huge tournaments and getting covered in the national press.
Fans of Deuker, Lupica, Wallace and Bowen will enjoy this latest installment of Josh's baseball career.
But WHY, Tim Green? Why must we make these books so sad? The baseball should start much earlier in the book, and give Josh a break before you wrap up the series!