Twelve-year-old Gabby is a golden child, and nothing can go wrong, until it does.
Gabby, the star pitcher for Luther Junior High, is about to complete her second no-hitter of the season when the game is suspended, everyone is evacuated, and the school is closed because of an asbestos situation. The young Latina is assigned to Piper Bell Academy for the duration, a very upscale private school. She creates a playbook, definitely not a mere diary, to state her goals and strategies for maintaining her status in her new school. She assumes that she will be begged to join the baseball team and achieve further greatness, all in spite of gentle warnings from her parents and best friend. But her plans go immediately, painfully awry and must be listed as losses in her book. Feeling completely vanquished, she quits baseball and joins the marvelously inept field hockey team. A bit of humble pie and determination to do the right thing brings about a satisfying conclusion. Middle-grade readers will identify with Gabby’s preteen angst, laugh at her mostly self-inflicted struggles, and cheer for her success. The playbook format, heavily illustrated with doodles and delightful action sketches, also serves the purpose of describing the characters’ physical appearances, including skin color and ethnicity, which are implied by naming conventions but never stated in the text.
Hilarious and joyful. (Fiction. 9-12)