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Mike has his junior year well under control. He's got a solid group of friends. He's dating Lori, one of the hottest girls in school. And Coach Cody has all but given him the starting spot as the...
Mike has his junior year well under control. He's got a solid group of friends. He's dating Lori, one of the hottest girls in school. And Coach Cody has all but given him the starting spot as the...
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Description-

  • Mike has his junior year well under control. He's got a solid group of friends. He's dating Lori, one of the hottest girls in school. And Coach Cody has all but given him the starting spot as the Ridgedale Rangers' varsity center fielder. And then Oscar Ramirez shows up. Oscar is an amazing ballplayer, as talented at the plate as he is in center field, and it's not long before Mike loses control. He's on the bench, he's getting into fights, and he finds himself in weekend detention with Katherine Herold, the most mysterious, abrasive, alluring girl in school. Mike is lost, confused, and looking to Coach Cody to help him get back on track. But the coach has his own set of rules for Mike to play by, and the decisions Mike makes are going to impact more than just the starting lineup.

    Robert Lipsyte, one of the most celebrated writers in young adult literature, has crafted a subtly intense tale of adolescent struggle, a sports story about much more than sports—one that shows us how the moves one makes off the field matter even more than the moves one has on it.

About the Author-

  • Robert Lipsyte was an award-winning sportswriter for the New York Times and the Emmy-winning host of the nightly public affairs show The Eleventh Hour. He is the author of twelve acclaimed novels for young adults and is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring his lifetime contribution in that genre. He lives in Manhattan and on Shelter Island, New York, with his wife, Lois, and his dog, Milo.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 12, 2010
    Lipsyte again shines light on the dark corners of high school jock culture, this time focusing on the corrupt adults who let kids make bad choices so long as the people in charge look good. Mike believes he’s the starting centerfielder until a new kid, Oscar, shows up. Oscar’s past is murky, but his skills are evident. Is he really a high school–age transfer student? Anxious about becoming a benchwarmer, Mike shoves a nerdy kid who is annoying him, resulting in weekend community service helping the school’s Cyber Club. These eye-opening sessions reveal that the maniacal baseball coach, who also serves as the school’s dean of discipline, either has something of his own to hide or serious control issues. Mike wrestles with increasingly hard choices—should he please the coach by delivering dirt on his Cyber Club buds (including the foxy but tortured Katherine), or maintain his integrity and lose a chance at a baseball scholarship? Though this one doesn’t pack the wallop of Raiders’ Night
    (2006), Lipsyte delivers another thoughtful, entertaining sports drama. Ages 12–up.

  • School Library Journal

    April 1, 2010
    Gr 7 Up-Mike Semak's chances of becoming star center fielder and senior team captain are jeopardized when he loses his temper with a geeky classmate, Zack. The sweet spot on the baseball team becomes even more elusive when a cocky cleanup batter, Oscar Ramirez, arrives out of nowhere with a murky birth date and questionable immigration status. Mike's penance for fighting is to help out at Cyber Club, but he learns that Coach Cody purposefully assigned him to spy on Zack and other "pukes" he suspects are hacking into the school network. There, he falls for Kat, a smart and contentious girl who seems the antithesis of his girlfriend, Lori, a pretty baton twirler. Conflicted about Kat, his coach's paranoia, and his father's possible role in bringing the Ramirez family to town, Mike looks to his major league idol, Billy Budd, whose blog has always provided sound advice about baseball and other life matters. Mike wins a contest to meet his longtime hero, only to be disappointed by the "dumb jock" reality, and finds his own moral compass to solve his problems. Appealing primarily to a jock culture, Lipsyte's characters are fairly stereotypical, especially in Coach Cody's military approach to sports and discipline, and in Lori's portrayal as a giggly boy pleaser with a "pert butt and boobs." Mystery and relationship subplots may engage a wider audience, but the story shines in the play-by-play game and practice descriptions. While some real major league names are dropped, fictional Billy Budd's portrayal as a celebrity carefully conceived by media handlers is an element that won't be lost on teens."Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY"

    Copyright 2010 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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