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Playing the Field Hardcover – February 28, 2006
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From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up–Darcy Miller is a softball star frustrated with her less-than-stellar high school team. Wanting to make better use of her talents, she tries to convince the principal that she could take the boys baseball team to the championships if only she were given the chance. However, Mr. Basset is less than thrilled with the idea until his son, Brandon, Darcys long-term crush, tells him that Darcy is a lesbian. She plays along with the ruse, showing little concern for the consequences that pretending to be gay could have on her social life. Why being a lesbian makes one eligible to play boys baseball is not addressed. In exchange for getting the opportunity to try out, the principal forces Darcy to join the Gay Straight Alliance. At this point the plot becomes even more preposterous. The GSA president, Josh, is Darcys ex-best friend and fellow admirer of Brandon. When Josh gets wind of Darcys plan to be a closeted straight, he vows to expose her, but not before teaching her a poorly executed lesson on tolerance. The anticlimactic resolution to this Shakespearean-farce-gone-bland ends with Brandon saving the day and getting the girl, while Darcy becomes captain of the baseball team, with no repercussions for her actions. Flat characterizations, dated slang, and wholly unbelievable scenarios prevent this novel from being anything close to a homerun.–Michelle Roberts, Merrick Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 6-9. In this fearlessly irreverent first novel, a high-schooler achieves her baseball dreams and more. It's not her stellar abilities in the field that get Darcy off the wretched girls' softball squad and onto the first-rate boys' baseball team. Nor is it her fiery mother's confrontation with the timorous principal who Mom also happens to be dating. It's really thanks to the principal's own son, hunky senior Brandon, who manipulates his father by suggesting that^B Darcy is a lesbian and then raises the stakes by intimating that any "gay" issue is a hot button, susceptible to becoming a cause celebre. He also finds a way to patch up Darcy's bitter feud with former best buddy Josh, the humorless, high-strung president of the school's Gay-Straight Alliance. Bildner narrowly avoids turning Josh into a caricature, but in Darcy he creates a smart, take-charge character, who is sensitive enough to see the irony (usually) of being forced into the role of closet heterosexual and tough enough to take the resulting heat in pursuit of her goal. By the triumphant final out, she has clicked with the team, and with Brandon, too. John Peters
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top customer reviews
Darcy's life is far from easy. Her high school principal is currently dating and yuck! sleeping with her mother. Attempts by her mother to convince Principal Basset that her daughter should be part of the boys' baseball team have fallen short. That is, until someone tells the principal that Darcy is gay.
Upon hearing this shocking news, Darcy's first reaction is to hastily explain the truth and even admit her crush on his son, Brandon. But after the initial shock of the announcement, Darcy realizes that her dream could come true if she is willing to participate in a small game of sexual deception. What's wrong with pretending to be gay? Who could it hurt?
Phil Bildner uses terrific humor and a fair amount of baseball action to create a fast-paced tale of Darcy's life spinning out of control. Readers will be entertained by Darcy's love life, an improving season for the baseball team, and some crazy meetings of the school's GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) organization. PLAYING THE FIELD has a little something for everyone.
Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"