Kevin Boland has been too busy with baseball and his girlfriend, Mira, to write much poetry since we first met him, in Shakespeare Bats Cleanup (2003). In this verse-novel sequel, his dad gives him a new journal, and Kevin remembers how much he likes writing. His already waning interest in Mira decreases further after he attends an open-mike poetry reading and meets Amy, who has a boyfriend and just wants to be “poetry friends.” The two teens exchange e-mails and poems, experimenting with form, including couplets, pantoums, and tankas. Kevin observes, “If she can write a sestina, I’m gonna love her madly.” The well-crafted poetry is firmly rooted in the experiences of regular teens and addresses subjects that range from breakups to baseball. Koertge works in some unobtrusive poetry instruction, and poems like Amy’s funny Transylvanian limericks and Kevin’s poignant reflections on “moving on” will inspire teens to try writing their own. Appealing and accessible, this sequel provides rewards on many levels. Grades 6-9. --Lynn Rutan
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About the Author
Ron Koertge is the author of many acclaimed novels, including DEADVILLE, STONER AND SPAZ, THE BRIMSTONE JOURNALS, and his first novel-in-verse about Kevin Boland, SHAKESPEARE BATS CLEANUP. A two-time winner of the PEN Award, Ron Koertge lives in South Pasadena, California.