With tender poignancy, Cochrane gets right to the heart of young Molly's painful journey. Her father died in an accident, and her mother has withdrawn to deal with her own pain. She shared a love of baseball with her father, which seems to be her only tenuous connection to the happiness she once knew. He taught her how to throw a knuckleball, and she uses that unique skill to join the boys' baseball team. With loving encouragement from some dear friends and some leaps of faith, she comes to terms with the changes in her life. Careful to avoid pathos, the author is particularly adept at capturing just the right turn of phrase as Molly narrates her story. She sees herself as a "brave-hearted poster girl, Miss Difficulty Overcome," and as someone who "had become an island." Impeccable syntax lends authenticity to the rocky road that is middle school, baseball practices and games, and to Molly's relationships with her peers and with her mother. Lovely and memorable. (Fiction. 10-14) Read full book review >
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