Sometimes I’m surprised by how much I enjoy a book. That’s the case with Jordan Sonnenblick’s Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip. (Those that frequent this blog know that this is not the type of book I normally read.) Having read one other book by Sonnenblick, Notes from the Midnight Driver, I had a feeling I would like Curveball, but I didn’t know that I would spend an entire Monday evening so engrossed that I would forget to watch How I Met Your Mother. Only when I finished the book at around 9pm did I realize I had missed one of my favorite shows. (Luckily, I found out it was a rerun, so I didn’t miss much.) Curveball was a quick read, and it definitely held my interest. The storyline was kind of predictable, but I really didn’t mind. The main character, Peter, was relatable and funny, which is kind of rare in a lot of YA fiction. (I’ll be the first to admit that many of the male characters I read about are morose, aloof, Mr. Darcy types…and they often have supernatural abilities. I like that, but it’s sometimes nice to change things up a bit.) I think Curveball will be an easy sell for male readers, from middle through high school, because of the baseball angle, but there’s really something in this book that all readers, male and female, will enjoy…a good story.
Peter Friedman loves baseball. He’s all set to become a stud pitcher on the high school baseball team. Unfortunately, his elbow has other ideas. The summer after eighth grade, Peter has an accident that forces him to throw all of his dreams of being a star athlete out the window. What now? He can’t really be a big-shot baseball player if he can’t, you know, throw a baseball. Peter’s best friend A.J. seems convinced that Peter will be back in pitching shape before the spring, but Peter knows that it’s not going to happen. Is there any way for sports to play a part in Peter’s high school life? Possibly. And it all starts with an unexpected “gift” from Peter’s grandfather, the most important person in Peter’s life.
Peter knows how much photography means to his grandfather, so he’s worried when, all of a sudden, Gramps gives all his stuff away. Peter thinks it’s a sign that something is wrong with his grandpa. He’s probably right, but no one—his mom or his grandfather—wants to admit that there might be a problem. Peter knows he’s too young to have this worry added to all his other issues—his slow-to-heal injury, his delusional best friend, girls, and finding a place for himself in high school—but he just can’t help it.
Peter finds some happiness in two things: photography and Angelika. Photography gives him a connection to his grandfather and an identity at school. Angelika, the cute, funny girl in his photography class, provides Peter with a confidante, a friend, a partner, and, when he needs it most, a swift kick in the pants. Even though things seem to be unraveling around him, Angelika is his constant, until she confronts Peter about being honest about his future with baseball and his grandfather’s condition. Peter is losing his grip, and he’s unprepared for the curveballs life has thrown his way. Can he figure everything out before he loses everything that really matters? Read Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip to discover how one guy gets his head back in the game…of life.
For more information on Curveball and other books by Jordan Sonnenblick, visit http://www.jordansonnenblick.com/.