Marnie’s love of baseball—and the stalwart friends with whom she plays the game with such passion—has been the centerpiece of her life; but now she’s 17 and things are changing.
The novel opens with a thriller of a play: Ace pitcher Cody is hit by a ball at the plate, breaking his arm, though he takes first in spite of it. Teammate Joey hits toward a gap in left field, bringing Cody in to home base on a slide, landing on his broken arm. With Cody out of commission, Marnie steps in as pitcher for the team as they head into sectionals and dream of going to state. Team dynamics play a big role in the story and so do the games, but it’s the action off the field that is the focus. Secrets between friends and romantic entanglements between Joey and Marnie’s best friend, Sara, compound the drama, as Cody and Marnie discover their mutual attraction but shy away from acting on it. Having known each other for more than a decade, these four are transitioning to more adult relationships, and it’s proving uncomfortable. The few black, Asian, and Latinx characters are limited to the supporting cast. Humorous moments and appealing characters fail to rescue this unrealistic portrayal of a female athlete who joins a boys’ sports team at a crucial juncture.
Forgettable fodder but fairly fun as sports fantasies go. (Fiction. 11-15)