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Safe at second

by Scott Johnson


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Gr 7 Up-A star pitcher's best buddy must find a way to help his friend and redefine his own goals when a line drive injures the athlete and dashes their dreams of glory. A tough and tender coming-of-age story with plenty of play-by-play action. (July)

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Gr 7 Up-As a "can't miss" pitching prospect, Todd Bannister has scouts, agents, and recruiters begging for his attention and, as a good-looking, self-assured star athlete, he has fellow students and many adults doing the same. All of this comes to an abrupt end when he is hit in the face by a line drive and loses an eye. His attempt to come back is unsuccessful as he can no longer control his pitches and is pounded unmercifully whenever he is put into a game. Initially angry and bitter, he eventually comes to a kind of acceptance of his new status and takes the first steps to getting on with his life. Todd is a fascinating character, by turns conceited and considerate, cruel and kind, thoughtful and thoughtless. With just a few deft brush strokes, Johnson demonstrates how a basically decent kid can succumb to the blandishments of an adoring public, accept their adulation as his due, and even use his position to manipulate people. The book is narrated by Todd's best friend and biggest supporter, Paulie Lockwood, who must come to terms with the way the changes in Todd's life affect his own. As Todd works through his tragic situation and his hubris gives way to a hard-won wisdom, readers will respond with empathy and compassion. This compelling work transcends the category of sports fiction. Its characters are complex, rounded, and fully realized, and its themes are universal. An outstanding novel.-Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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