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High heat

by Carl Deuker


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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Narrator Shane Hunter is the "closer" for his high school baseball team-the treasured pitcher whose job is to take to the mound in the crucial final innings of a game. Baseball is Shane's world, his identity ("I focus on home plate, the catcher's glove, and the ball in my hand. When that's my whole world, I'm in control"). But the sophomore's world is shaken when his father, who owns a luxury car dealership, is arrested for money laundering while he is watching one of Shane's games. In a rapid spiral of events, Shane loses his father, his upscale home, his entire world. Suddenly poverty-stricken, he and his mother and sister move into a tiny run-down apartment, and the kids must attend public school for the first time. Perhaps worst of all, he loses his love for baseball. In a pivotal moment of darkness, Shane intentionally hits a batter, putting him in the hospital. But as the story progresses, he and the injured boy work out their demons together, through the game that has meant so much to them both. Deuker (Night Hoops) fills the pages with dozens of exciting play-by-play sequences; these serve not only to move the story along chronologically, but also act as the metronome for Shane's personal story of loss, recovery and renewal. It is a dark story in the first half, but the arc of redemption reminds readers that love conquers all-as does the pursuit of personal excellence. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 7 Up-Shane Hunter's life of privilege disintegrates when his dad is arrested for money laundering and commits suicide. The teen, his mother, and his younger sister are forced to move out of their palatial home and into subsidized housing in a tough part of Seattle. Shane has a difficult time adjusting, and is eventually arrested for stealing beer from a convenience store. As part of his probation, he must help repair a local baseball diamond. There, he meets the coach of his public school's baseball team, who encourages him to try out. A crucial moment comes when Shane, a relief pitcher with a blazing fastball, faces the team from his old private school. His anger rises to the surface, and he delivers a fastball directly at the head of Reese Robertson, the kid whose family bought Shane's house. Reese is hospitalized, and although Shane affects a lack of concern, he is so rattled that his pitching skills deteriorate. The rest of the novel follows his attempts to get both his arm and his life back on track, and the uneasy bond he forms with Reese. Deuker avoids easy answers in the book's ambiguous but truthful conclusion. Non-sports fans may find too many game descriptions to hold their interest, but devotees will be rewarded with a story that delivers baseball action along with a rich psychological portrait, told through a compelling first-person narration.-Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, IL

Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.:

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