Two sixth-grade Little Leaguers and best buddies find their friendship tested on and off the diamond.
Zach is Joey’s best buddy on and off the baseball field, so when Zach needs to get out of a science field trip that’s scheduled on the same day as the Little League championship game, the sixth-graders are in it together. But their scheme comes back to haunt them when Zach makes the all-star team instead of Joey, and Joey has to wonder whether he might have won the spot if Zach had gone on the field trip. A cute girl might like only one boy, too. Though Green is no stylist, he does a better job of avoiding the sports fantasy and sticking to real life than usual. There’s plenty of play-by-play for those who want the sports to be the focus, but the interactions off the field are never shortchanged. For example, Joey has an obnoxious younger brother, his parents don’t always agree, and he learns that trying to dance to a fast song can be as embarrassing as your first almost-kiss.
A slice of life for middle school readers who know that their sport is a microcosm of the larger world. (Fiction. 9-13)