An enjoyable baseball story that young fans will follow all the way to the bottom of the ninth.

STRIKE THREE, YOU'RE DEAD

From the Lenny & the Mikes series , Vol. 1

Twelve-year-old Lenny Norbeck thought the contest to win a chance to broadcast one inning of a Phillies game would be fun. But it is murder. Literally.

The Armchair Announcer contest should have been a dream come true for Lenny. He’s “the boy with the golden voice,” who’s always narrating his life: “And Lenny Norbeck puts ANOTHER piece of pepperoni into his mouth. The crowd goes wild! Ahhhh-ahhhh-ahhh!” Maybe becoming a baseball announcer would be his thing. He’s not especially smart or athletic or handsome, but he can do this. And he does. He wins the contest, and on July 29th, he’s in the announcer’s booth. But it all goes downhill quickly. The Phillies’ pitcher collapses on the mound and dies, and Lenny never gets to do any announcing. He does have a mystery to solve, though. Was it a heart attack? Murder? Though the story is too scattered and, at times, implausible to be an effectively developed mystery, it is a fast-paced tale, an ode to the pleasures of the game—the dreams, the disappointments, and the trials and tribulations of being a fan.

An enjoyable baseball story that young fans will follow all the way to the bottom of the ninth. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87008-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch.

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THE CROSSOVER

Basketball-playing twins find challenges to their relationship on and off the court as they cope with changes in their lives.

Josh Bell and his twin, Jordan, aka JB, are stars of their school basketball team. They are also successful students, since their educator mother will stand for nothing else. As the two middle schoolers move to a successful season, readers can see their differences despite the sibling connection. After all, Josh has dreadlocks and is quiet on court, and JB is bald and a trash talker. Their love of the sport comes from their father, who had also excelled in the game, though his championship was achieved overseas. Now, however, he does not have a job and seems to have health problems the parents do not fully divulge to the boys. The twins experience their first major rift when JB is attracted to a new girl in their school, and Josh finds himself without his brother. This novel in verse is rich in character and relationships. Most interesting is the family dynamic that informs so much of the narrative, which always reveals, never tells. While Josh relates the story, readers get a full picture of major and minor players. The basketball action provides energy and rhythm for a moving story.

Poet Alexander deftly reveals the power of the format to pack an emotional punch. (Verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-10771-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship.

LEGACY AND THE DOUBLE

From the Legacy series , Vol. 2

A young tennis champion becomes the target of revenge.

In this sequel to Legacy and the Queen (2019), Legacy Petrin and her friends Javi and Pippa have returned to Legacy’s home province and the orphanage run by her father. With her friends’ help, she is in training to defend her championship when they discover that another player, operating under the protection of High Consul Silla, is presenting herself as Legacy. She is so convincing that the real Legacy is accused of being an imitation. False Legacy has become a hero to the masses, further strengthening Silla’s hold, and it becomes imperative to uncover and defeat her. If Legacy is to win again, she must play her imposter while disguised as someone else. Winning at tennis is not just about money and fame, but resisting Silla’s plans to send more young people into brutal mines with little hope of better lives. Legacy will have to overcome her fears and find the magic that allowed her to claim victory in the past. This story, with its elements of sports, fantasy, and social consciousness that highlight tensions between the powerful and those they prey upon, successfully continues the series conceived by late basketball superstar Bryant. As before, the tennis matches are depicted with pace and spirit. Legacy and Javi have brown skin; most other characters default to White.

A worthy combination of athletic action, the virtues of inner strength, and the importance of friendship. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-949520-19-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Granity Studios

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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