Author: Deuker, Carl
Lazarus Weathers, a high school senior from the wrong side of the tracks, seeks to protect his half-brother while pitching his way out of poverty, one strike at a time.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG+
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 10.0 Quiz: 509786
Kirkus Reviews (02/15/20)
School Library Journal (02/01/20)
Booklist (+) (03/01/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2020 Gr 7 Up—As he enters his senior year of high school, Lazarus "Laz" Weathers's life already seems to be heading toward a dead end. Laz stutters, his struggles in school mean college isn't an option, the trailer park where he lives is about to be shut down, and his beloved brother has started hanging out with the local drug dealer. The only bright spot on Laz's horizon is baseball. Laz is a gifted pitcher, but his hopes of getting recruited for the minor leagues are dashed when his high school team forfeits at the beginning of their season. Fortunately, a last-minute chance to pitch for a wealthy school across town gives him one final chance to escape the trailer park and make a life for himself. Acclaimed sportswriter Deuker deftly weaves baseball action into a solid coming-of-age tale, as Laz navigates the class divide when the well-off Thurmans take him in when he switches schools. Pressures from coaches and scouts build, and Laz is forced into a reckoning as he must decide what is truly important to him—his career or his family. VERDICT Short chapters and easy-to-follow writing make this book a strong choice for any school with a collection of sports fiction.—Bobbi Parry, East Baton Rouge Parish School System, LA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2020 *Starred Review* Nineteen-year-old Lazarus (Laz) Weathers and his half brother, Antonio, live with their mother in Jet City, a dilapidated trailer park in Seattle. When the boys’ high school scraps its baseball program, the former coach convinces a few guys to play in the summer, among them Laz. The ragtag team goes up against other high schools in the area, and Laz’s incredible pitching catches the attention of Mr. Thurman, the father of a star player at affluent Laurelhurst High. Mr. Thurman offers Laz a room in their house so that he can attend Laurelhurst, play baseball, and help his son’s team win the state title (the main reason for his generosity). Itching to get out of Jet City, Laz knows this could be his chance at a better future and accepts. Just as everything seems to be going his way, including catching the eye of some major league scouts, Antonio gets into trouble, forcing Laz to weigh the value of family against getting an offer from the pros. With short, fast-paced chapters, Deuker’s realistic novel pits poverty, friendship, teamwork, self-reliance, and supportive adults against wealth, privilege, overambition, and overbearing helicopter parents. Even readers who don’t like baseball will be riveted to this human-interest, underdog story. Readers who still love Matt Christopher’s and John Feinstein’s books won’t want to put this down. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.