High school senior Jill Cafferty is a very talented pitcher who is about to become the first woman to be drafted by a major league baseball team.
Her high-achieving family supports her, along with good friends and her late father’s military buddies. When she is drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, she is assigned to a minor league team where she will learn how to be a professional player while getting used to “feeling the weight of historical responsibility.” She walks a fine line between fitting in and asserting her own personality, the media always at her heels, and experiences some ugly incidents that shock and hurt her. Playing the game “was the easy part.” While several of the secondary characters are described as African-American or Latino, neither Jill nor anyone else is described as white, implying a white default. Jill speaks fairly fluent Spanish and interacts with a Japanese player by learning some basic baseball terms in his language. She is unfailingly polite in her dealings with fans, media, coaches, trainers, and front-office personnel, but the third-person narration allows readers to hear her silent inner voice, often ironic or humorous, prior to her spoken voice in nearly every encounter, keeping her from being too perfect to be believable.
Go girl. (Fiction. 13-18)