In this uncomplicated tale, poor grades trip up a talented but arrogant eighth-grader destined (or so he thinks) to play for the local All-Star and high-school baseball teams. Bored to tears in history class and on the verge of failing, Roy is nonetheless outraged when his divorced parents pull him out of all baseball—except the wretched weekend rec league—and saddle him with a tutor, who also happens to be his Dad’s new girlfriend. Roy’s bad attitude gets him off on the wrong foot with the tutor, his fellow tutee Valerie, and his irritatingly casual new teammates, but as common sense replaces ego he slowly both acquires better study habits and gets away from being a bossy showboat on the playing field. By the end he’s turned his grades and his relationship with Valerie around, and learned to be a team player. Though Heldring’s characters provide plenty of behavioral lectures and obvious role-modeling, Roy’s new wisdom and study skills are realistically hard-won, and the baseball action is compelling enough to keep Matt Christopher grads interested. Grades 4-6. --John Peters
About the Author
Thatcher Heldring lives with his wife and son in Seattle, a good place for indoor sports. Visit him online at www.thatchertheauthor.com.