Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pinch Hit

Green, Tim. Pinch Hit.
Trevor is a major film star who lives with his wealthy parents in the lap of luxury. When he says he wants to play baseball, they arrange for his to play with the Dodgers. Not exactly what he meant. Sam, on the other hand, gets to play a lot of baseball and has the possibility of a pro career ahead of him, which would help him escape the life of trailer park poverty he leads with his English teacher turned screenwriter hopeful father. When Sam goes with his father to a movie studio, he goes to a casting call while his father is in a pitch meeting, and gets chosen to be a double for Trevor because of their uncanny similarity. Sam inadvertently makes Trevor's manager mad, but with the help of McKenna, another film star, the two boys switch places. Trevor gets to play ball, and Sam gets to try to act as well as enjoy all of Trevor's perks. There is a deeper mystery, however-- why do the boys look so similar? How long can the two pull off the switch, and what hidden family secrets will they reveal before they are through?
Strengths: Green's books are hugely popular with my readers, and this will be no exception. While I don't care for the inclusion of the Mafia, or shady adoptions, the boys seem to revel in these things, and they do make for lively stories. The inclusion of Hollywood makes this one extra fun, and there are always boys who will read ANYTHING that has to do with baseball.
Weaknesses: Again, the adoption story strained my credulity; why it's easier to believe that the boys just looked alike, I don't know.

Swan, Bill. Off Track.
Tyler has to take summer school because he has failed English. He's upset that his mother has taken a job in another city, and he is afraid his parents will divorce. After class one day, he meets Kevin, who is fixing his bicycle to ride in a triathlon. Kevin has run into problems in school as well, but is trying to improve himself. He and his sister Samantha are training with their father and a swimming coach, who ends up being Tyler's summer language arts teacher. While Tyler is struggling to write about a challenge he is facing, he is also training for the triathlon, coming to terms with being away from his mother, and getting a handle on his anger.
Strengths: This was probably my favorite Swan book so far. While Tyler is not likable at the beginning, his reasons for being surly are made clear, and he works through them. The triathlon training is more understandable than the cross country, which was different enough from United States training to confuse me a little.
Weaknesses: Slightly predictable, but still a great story for struggling readers who want an easy sports story. I have LOTS of those readers!

No comments:

Post a Comment