Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Heat by Mike Lupica
In my opinion, a really good sports book isn't really about sports, it's about life. There's a lot of life in this book (but also a whole lot of baseball). Michael is an amazing pitcher and his dream is to pitch in the Little League World Series. It was his father's dream also, but his father is not around and he and his brother are trying to keep that a secret. Michael is so good at baseball that other Little League teams are trying to make him prove he is 12 years old. Unfortunately he has a lot of trouble getting a birth certificate from Cuba. I liked Michael's best friend Manny, his brother Carlos, and the kind neighbor woman who takes care of them. I thought at times that the conversations between these 12 year old boys were much too clever and urbane to ever come out of the mouths of real kids. The happy ending was not a big surprise, but heck, I wanted things to work out for Michael. While there are non-sports issues in this book, there is so much baseball play-by-play that I do think the intended audience is kids who love the game. It might be hard for other kids to get through, but baseball fans will love it (and probably learn some great baseball strategies at the same time).