|Get a grip, Vivy Cohen|
Author: Kapit, Sarah
Eleven-year-old knuckleball pitcher Vivy Cohen, who has autism, becomes pen pals with her favorite Major League Baseball player after writing a letter to him as an assignment for her social skills class.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (11/15/19)
School Library Journal (01/01/20)
Booklist (+) (03/01/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2020 Gr 5–8—For readers who love baseball and heartwarming realistic fiction, this new title from Kapit is a standout. Vivy is a girl with a passion for baseball; she wants to be a pitcher more than anything else. Her life changes when a baseball coach scouts her at the park playing with her brother. But Vivy's mother is concerned about her joining the team, mainly because she will be the only child with autism and the only girl. When Vivy's social skills teacher makes her write a letter to someone, she chooses major league pitcher VJ Capello. Vivy and VJ correspond about everything and form a friendship that they both grow to need. Vivy is a heartwarming protagonist; her daily routines, struggles, and wishes will resonate with young readers who will be rooting for her from the first page. Kapit's portrayal of a girl with autism and a love for baseball feels authentic. The unique storytelling format of letters and emails will have even the most reluctant of readers turning the pages quickly. VERDICT A baseball story with heart for young readers of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. This is a must-have title for elementary and middle school libraries where realistic fiction is popular.—Elizabeth Pelayo, St. Charles East High School, IL - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2020 *Starred Review* Eleven-year-old Vivy has been pitching knuckleballs ever since meeting her baseball hero, VJ Capello, at an Autism Foundation event. When a Little League coach sees her practicing, he recruits Vivy onto the team, but not everyone is as happy about that as she is. Her overprotective mother refuses to believe Vivy can handle being the only girl on a competitive baseball team, and the coach’s son—the team’s star pitcher—bullies her mercilessly. Vivy’s roller-coaster journey through the season is related exclusively through a series of letters, as what begins as fan mail to Capello becomes a regular correspondence between the young girl and the renowned pitcher. While the epistolary form stretches the bounds of believability—Vivy’s messages are more first-person prose narrative than letter—the story is so undeniably charming, the sports so exciting, and the protagonist so sympathetic that readers will get sucked in. Kapit’s debut is an exceedingly rare #OwnVoices account of an autistic girl—centered on that character—that gives a clear, authentic, and universally relatable representation of autism while still telling a positive, upbeat, feel-good story about a girl’s fight to play the game she loves. Vivy’s Jewish background, gay brother, and Latinx best friend bring an intersectionality to the novel that only adds to its appeal. A must for all collections. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.