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CENTER FIELD by Robert Lipsyte

CENTER FIELD

By Robert Lipsyte

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: April 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-055704-1
Publisher: HarperTeen

Mike is a star on his high-school baseball team. He models himself on his Yankees hero Billy Budd, even using his name as a mantra. But life is far from simple. A new, talented teammate might take over Mike’s position in center field, and Mike’s coach is frighteningly controlling, demanding absolute, unquestioning loyalty at the expense of honesty and compassion. The fast-paced plot reads like jumbled episodes of CSI or Law & Order, with illegal immigrants, computer hacking, identity theft and more. The computer geeks, jocks, radicals and the mega-star ballplayer are all borderline caricatures, but there are elements of truth and humanity in most of them. As Mike caroms from one crisis to another, he gains some important insights and finds his allegiances shifting. In his efforts to engage his audience, Lipsyte closely approximates the language patterns of teenagers, but he also includes scenes of underage drinking, pill popping and sexual activity, skewing this title to older teens. (Fiction. YA)