Jack Callahan is the star of his baseball team and sixth grade is supposed to be his year. Undefeated season. Records shattered. Little League World Series. The works. That is, until he up and quits.
Jack's best friend Gus can't understand how Jack could leave a game that means more to them than anything else. But Jack is done. It's a year of change. Jack's brother has passed away, and though his family and friends and the whole town of Walton thinks baseball is just the thing he needs to move on, Jack feels it's anything but.
In comes Cassie Bennett, star softball player, and the only person who seems to think Jack shouldn't play if he doesn't want to. As Jack and Cassie's friendship deepens, their circle expands to include Teddy, a guy who's been picked on because of his weight.
Time spent with these new friends unlocks something within Jack, and with their help and the support of his family and his old friends, Jack discovers sometimes it's more than just the love of the game that keeps us moving--and he might just be able to find his way back to The Only Game.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-05-25
- Reviewer: Staff
Seventh grader Jack Callahan is his team's star pitcher and shortstop, so everyone is shocked when he quits baseball during the lead-up to the Little League World Series. "My heart's not in it," he tells his disappointed parents, before spilling the real reason he's abandoning the team: "Baseball won't bring my brother back." Lupica thoughtfully explores Jack's belief that he could have saved his daredevil older brother, Brad, who died the previous year in a dirt-bike accident. While Callahan sorts out his life and the events of the past year, he slowly finds a new crowd of friends at school who show him a life beyond baseball. Nobbs reads with a strong narrative voice that has good emphasis, timing, and tone, especially when delivering the weight of emotionally tense scenes. But when it comes to providing the voices for the colorful slew of other characters, Nobbs's narration is either flat or overly caricatured. Ages 8–12. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (Feb.)