Saturday, May 10, 2008

Keeping Score



I have read most of Linda Sue Park's novels, and I've enjoyed all of them. Some more than others, but I've enjoyed them all. (It's just a matter of degree.) I liked--really liked--this one. I didn't know quite what to expect. It is about baseball. Not about playing baseball necessarily, but about being a fan of the sport. About being a fan of the game, the players, the teams. Our narrator, our heroine, is Maggie, or "Maggie-O" as her father likes to call her. She's a Dodger's fan, a Brooklyn Dodgers fan. The novel is set in the early to mid fifties. (1951-1955). Her mother and brother are Dodgers fans as well. But her father is a Yankees fan. (Hence her name "Maggie-O" and his son, Joseph Michael.) Her father was a fireman. But after a serious injury (all occurring before the novel's start) he now has a desk job. Maggie, however, still visits the fire house, the firemen regularly. Not a week goes by when she doesn't go to hang out with her father's friends, her father's coworkers. She loves to listen to the baseball games on the radio with them. One of the men is new. His name is Jim. He's different from the others--he's a Giants fan. But oddly enough, though he's a fan of the wrong team, it's him that Maggie is most drawn to. He teaches her how to keep score, how to follow the game play by play on paper keeping precise records. Their friendship is real though sports-based. So the news that he has been drafted into the army effects her quite deeply.

Maggie has led a sheltered life. But Jim being sent to Korea opens her eyes a bit to the world around her. Not all at once. But slowly and surely, she is growing and changing and coming of age.

Baseball. War. Friendship. Family. This novel has a little bit of everything to offer readers. It is deeper than I thought it would be. The first half of the novel is just a sports novel. But the second half, it's about so much more. Anyway, I think this novel has something for everyone. Even if you're not a big sports fan.

201 pages

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
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Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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