LESSONS OF THE GAME

A new student teacher and a young San Antonio high school football coach score “a touchdown for love” in this steamy but decorous romance. Before Kaylene Morales even reports to her supervising teacher, she manages to slop mop water over hunky coach Alex Garrison. The relationship develops from there (though it actually began ten years before, when Alex was her older brother’s classmate and she had a mad crush on him), into long phone conversations, dinners, passionate necking on the sofa, a falling out while Kaylene frets over Alex’s preoccupation with that “hard-hearted wench” football, and finally a climactic clinch and proposal. In the meantime, as Alex juggles his growing love with the heavy demands of Texas football, Kaylene throws out her dull lesson plans for innovative new ones, and endures mild challenges from her students. Romance fans and other tenderhearts will sigh over Bertrand’s mauve prose, no matter how unpolished it is. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Dec. 30, 1998

ISBN: 1-55885-245-X

Page Count: 146

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1998

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NOT AS CRAZY AS I SEEM

A 15-year-old boy with OCD struggles for mental health. Obsessed with cleanliness, germs, order, and the number four, Devon Brown feels compelled to wash his hands frequently, line up his books perfectly, and eat four of everything. Hoping to give Devon a fresh start (again), his concerned parents move, hire a new therapist, and enroll Devon in private school. The story, which never develops the dramatic urgency of Harrar’s Parents Wanted, gathers steam when one of Devon’s new acquaintances talks him into going to the school after-hours, then defaces the property with spray paint. Devon, who accompanied the boy because he felt the need to straighten a crooked poster in the biology room, is seen at the school, accused of the crime, and suspended. The reader is supposed to see a connection between Devon’s obsessions and the trouble he gets into, but the correlation is weak, and despite the intriguing topic, the protagonist never becomes more than a sum of his neuroses. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 24, 2003

ISBN: 0-618-26365-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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GETTING TO FIRST BASE WITH DANALDA CHASE

Using baseball as a guide for dating, Beam, in his U.S. debut, hits a grand-slam. When seventh-grader Darcy Spillman becomes smitten with beautiful and popular Danalda Chase, he hopes to “get to first base” with her. Of course, first he has to ask her out, and Darcy isn’t sure Danalda even knows he exists. Normally, Darcy would turn to his Grandpa Spillman for advice, but Grandpa is showing the early signs of Alzheimer’s. Instead, he turns to the new girl, Kamna, who suggests that Darcy should try out for the Cheetahs, his middle school’s baseball team. That would certainly win Danalda’s favor. Unfortunately, when the two finally go out, Danalda lives up to her reputation of being superficial, leaving Darcy unimpressed. It turns out that it’s Kamna he’d rather be with. Using baseball terms as his chapter headings, followed by definitions, Beam has managed to write a story that is fresh, funny and appealing to lovers and lovers of baseball, both male and female. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-525-47578-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2006

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