Rating: 4 / 5 stars
I am a sucker for a sports story, even one geared to tweenage boys, so I took a chance and got an ARC copy of this book from the publisher. I'm glad I did. A quick and easy read for someone like myself, it is a good story for 10 - 15 years old boys and girls alike. I grew up playing fall ball and summer ball along with my brother. And while this is a story about baseball, it's also about a lot more than that.
Bowen touches on how much pressure parents put on kids these days, even for recreational sports. Isaac is not unlike a lot of kids I played softball with and that my brother played baseball with, whose overbearing fathers/parents tried to make them perfect at their game, all the while sucking most of the fun out of the sport for their child.
While I have volunteered with many organizations for kids, I regret to say I haven't had the opportunity to help out the Special Olympics yet, although my brother has. As someone who grew up babysitting for a family with children with Down's syndrome, I instantly took a liking to Isaac as he began to form a friendship with Kevin and help him out of his shell and into basketball with the other kids. "Retarded" is a word that kids when I was growing up threw around a lot, and while most kids don't mean anything by it, it can be hurtful when used whether intended or not.
This book is a baseball novel like Moneyball is a baseball movie. It has some insightful motives that kids in the target audience might miss the virtues of, but that older readers can see and hope that today's youth can understand and accept.