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When a hard ball is coming at you fast, and when it's dancing, too, every single nerve in your body is alert and ready. Your eyes are wide open, and the adrenaline is pumping. It's not a feeling you want to give up, any more than you want to get off a roller coaster.
In his senior year of high school, late-bloomer Ryan Ward has just begun to feel the magic of baseball: the magic of catching a wicked slider, of throwing a runner out, of training hard and pushing limits. But when one of his teammates clearly pushes the limits too far, Ryan is face with a heartbreaking dilemma: he must choose between his love for the game and his integrity.
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Carl Deuker is described as “a rising young star in psychological sports fiction” by Jim Trelease in The Read-Aloud Handbook. He is the author of three sports novels, On the Devil's Court, Heart of a Champion, and Painting the Black, all of which were selected as ALA Best Books for Young Adults.From Kirkus Reviews:
For Ryan Ward, 17, the baseball diamond leads to much more than just a winning season in this exciting and moving novel from Deuker (Heart of a Champion, 1993, etc.). Until Josh Daniels and his family move in across the street during the summer, Ryan seems destined for mediocrity at Seattle's Crown Hill High. Eager for a friend, Ryan tags after the charismatic, athletically gifted Josh, a pitcher; while they play catch, Ryan realizes that he enjoys catching and thinks of trying out for the varsity team. But Ryan's plans are put on hold when autumn rolls around and Josh concentrates on the football team. Throughout the novel, his single-minded, nearly ruthless ambition is shown as the opposite of Ryan's nagging insecurities. The image of himself as Josh's toady drives Ryan to begin working out months before baseball season. Josh's careful maneuvering during practice shows Ryan at his best, and he makes the varsity cut; the team's unprecedented success is achieved largely through the symbiosis between the boys as pitcher and catcher. There the connection ends: Josh, master of high school politics, grows more arrogant while Ryan blossoms with newfound confidence. A championship season seems clinched until Josh, in a wolf mask, assaults a female classmate who has embarrassed him. Ryan interrupts the assault and recognizes Josh. Deuker, adept at capturing the thrills during the game, also proves talented at dramatizing Ryan's torment in the face of his friend's deeds; the depiction of a boy coming into his own is resonant and inspiring. (Fiction. 12+) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description HarperTeen February 1999, 1999. Trade Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 111806
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