Today is my stop on Blog Tour for The Pitcher by William Hazelgrove. Please enjoy my review and please don't forget to enter the giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal cash!
Junior Library Guild Selection for Fall
Amazon Bestseller List for Hispanic Fiction
Amazon Bestseller List for Baseball
No wonder this book was on these three lists! This book is a winner all around. Well-written, relevant to today’s societal issues, this book will engage sports fans and non-sports fans alike. Written with early teens as his audience, William Hazelgrove tells the story from Ricky Hernandez’ point of view.
Ricky’s dream is to be a Major League Baseball pitcher….but first he has to make the high school team because if “you don’t make the high school team, then it’s game over.” Ricky
has been working hard at his pitching. He’s got a 75 mile and hour fastball, but no control. Ricky’s mom Maria is the assistant coach of Ricky’s baseball team and helps him practice every day. She tries to teach him how to pitch, but not being a pitcher herself, she tries to teach him out of a book. Tryouts are coming at the end of summer, and Ricky has to be ready. So Maria sets out to get the Pitcher (their neighbour, an MLB pitcher who won the World Series) to coach Ricky.
While this book is written about baseball, it really is about more than that. I liked how the author was able to weave in multiple themes. This was a complex novel and the author did a good job weaving the parts together. Maria has lupus, and without a job, there is no way to pay the doctor’s bills. Besides, there’s no time to keep going to the doctor when she’s doing all she can to help Ricky realize his dream. The Pitcher lives in his garage drinking beer and watching baseball all day long. Ricky lives in a difficult situation – his mom’s ex keeps coming around demanding money and abusing them, he has dyslexia, and the other pitcher on his team is out to get him.
You will run the entire gamut of emotions when you read this story. It pulls at the heartstrings, but gets down to the truth. Success takes work, never give up.
I found this book to be quite enjoyable, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this book on the grade 6-7 classroom reading lists. One caution however – this book does contain some foul language.
I gave this book 4 stars.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. A free product does not influence my opinion. All thoughts are my own.
Author William Hazelgrove William Hazelgrove is the best selling author of five novels, Ripples, Tobacco Sticks Mica Highways and Rocket Man and The Pitcher His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly, Book of the Month Selections, Junior Library Guild Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. His latest novel Rocket Man due out May 1, 2013 was chosen Book of the Year by Books and Authors.net. He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway’s Attic. A forthcoming novel, The Pitcher will be out Sept 1, 2013. He lives in Chicago.
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