From School Library Journal
Grade 6–8—Vandals have crossed off the "o" and the "n" from the welcome sign outside the town of Moundville, and appropriately so, as it's been raining there continually for 22 years. Shortly after 12-year-old Roy discovers that he'll be sharing his bedroom with Sturgis, a scarred foster child about his age, the rain stops. What better opportunity to organize some baseball? In short order Roy finds himself captaining a ragtag team with himself as catcher, Sturgis—who has a wicked fastball—on the mound, and position players of both sexes with wildly varying levels of skill. Scaletta takes nearly 80 pages to trot out his varied, well-drawn supporting cast and to fill in the town's history (a necessity: that rain interrupted an important baseball game that some adults, at least, still regard as unfinished business), but he balances perceptive explorations of personal and domestic issues perfectly with fine baseball talk and (eventually) absorbing play-by-play. Readers will cheer Roy on as he struggles to get his team in shape, clicks with a girl who is new to the game but turns out to have an unhittable natural screwball, and weathers some rough waters with moody Sturgis on the way to a rousing climax and a fitting resolution.—John Peters, New York Public Library
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Those who don’t know an RBI from an ERA should look elsewhere, but for readers who eat and sleep sports, Scaletta’s debut is a gift from the baseball gods. It centers on 12-year-old Roy McGuire, whose dreams of being a major leaguer are literally dampened by the fact that it has been raining in his hometown for 22 years. The rain began during a contest with neighboring Sinister Bend, and it ends right after Roy returns from baseball camp to find a new foster brother, Sturgis, living at his house. Their relationship is rocky, but no one can deny Sturgis’ throwing power, and soon both boys are ramping up for an epic rematch between the two towns. Various asides and in-jokes make clear that Scaletta is steeped not only in baseball lore but in such movie classics as The Natural and Field of Dreams, and that sort of larger-than-life magic realism lends his story the aura of a proper tall tale. Sports nuts, including reluctant readers, will sense they are in good hands with this one. Grades 4-8. --Daniel Kraus