Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip by Jordan Sonnenblick
Peter has always loved baseball and excelled at it. About to start high school, he looks forward to being a pitching star and playing alongside his best friend AJ. But when he ignores the pain in his arm and continues to pitch, disaster happens and he is told he can no longer pitch, ever. Peter’s mother talks him into taking a photography class in school, inspired by his grandfather who is a well-known photographer in their community and whom Peter loves to spend time with. Peter reluctantly agrees, but the class is too easy and he is moved to an advanced photography class along with another freshman, a beguiling girl, Angelika. As their relationship starts thanks to photography, Peter notices that his grandfather is starting to forget things. Peter keeps the truth about his grandfather from his parents, just as he doesn’t tell the whole truth about his arm to his best friend. How long can he balance the lies he’s been spinning before they all fall?
Sonnenblick has created a book that is smart and charming. He effortlessly blends the worlds of sports and photography, plus a dash of strong romance too. Peter is a great character: a jock who is bright, funny and endearingly unsure. A great sense of humor runs through the book as well, making the book a fast read despite the heavier issues at its heart. The book grapples mightily with truth telling and relationships. Readers get to see just enough of the grandfather before he starts to lose his memory to understand just how strong the relationship between the two of them is. Though there are many issues at hand in the book, they are all balanced on strong storytelling and vivid characters.
With its blend of topics this book should appeal to many readers, get it in the hands of teens who enjoy John Green and are looking for more smart, funny books. Appropriate for ages 14-16.
Reviewed from ARC received from Scholastic Press.