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The Comeback Season
ISBN: 9781481448512
Author: Smith, Jennifer E.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: October 2015
Retail: $9.99    OUR PRICE: $1.99
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Binding Type: Paperback
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Annotation: Ryan Walsh, a Chicago Cubs fan, meets Nick when they both skip school on opening day, and their relationship becomes difficult for Ryan when she discovers that Nick is seriously ill and feels once more the pain of losing her father.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Baseball; Fiction.
Interpersonal relations; Fiction.
Fathers and daughters; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2015039257
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Target Grade: 7-9
Grade level: 7-9
Physical Information: 0.75" H x 75.00" L x 5.75" W
Bargain Category: Sports, Middle School, High School, Growing Up, Chapter Books
Grade level(s): 7th, 8th, 9th
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2008 February #3)

Who better than a Cubs fan understands loss? Ryan Walsh fell for Chicago's lovable losers at the side of her beloved father, who died when she was 10. Now 15, Ryan skips school on Opening Day 2008, the five-year anniversary of her father's death, and the beginning of a baseball season that marks an entire century since the Cubs' last World Series championship. Trying to buy a ticket from a scalper, she runs into Nick, a new boy at school, and their shared Cubmania unites them in friendship, then romance. Ryan is overinvested in the relationship: she's on the outs with her former best friends, and somewhat estranged from her newly pregnant mother (who sold her late husband's season tickets to pay bills, and has married a golfer who hates baseball). So it comes as a particularly cruel blow when Nick turns out to be terminally ill. A frequent objection from non-baseball fans is the languid pace of the game. The same complaint could be levied against this introspective first novel, which makes use of baseball's many opportunities for metaphor but not of its potential for excitement. Smith is a smooth writer, and she has something wise to say about how people process loss, but this four-hanky affair may be too much even for those as accustomed to heartbreak as Cubs fans. Ages 13-up. (Mar.)

[Page 156]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2008 April)

Gr 9 Up— Buried beneath the weight of a wholly untenable premise is a deeply moving, often beautifully rendered story of a girl who endures the loss of both her father and the boy she loves, and finds strength and hope as a result. High-school freshman Ryan Walsh still misses her dad terribly five years after his death in a boating accident. He was a sports reporter who instilled in her his love of the perennially disappointing Chicago Cubs. Ryan, who has grown away from her childhood friends, is lonely and miserable until she meets Nick, who shares her passion for the team. A recent transfer to her school, he is vague and evasive about the reason for the cast on his arm. It is eventually revealed that he has bone cancer. When Ryan suspects that he is seriously ill, she strikes a fateful bargain (with whom, it is never made clear) that the Cubs could continue to fail, as long as Nick is all right. As the team's fortunes improve and Nick's condition worsens, Ryan comes to believe that she is responsible. This central conceit of the novel—that a bright, sensible 15-year-old could believe that events are affected by this kind of irrational superstition—strains even the most willing suspension of disbelief. Nevertheless, those readers who stay with the novel to the end will be rewarded (in the last third of the book particularly) with scenes of genuine emotional power and language of sometimes breathtaking beauty and clarity. While her novel is less than a total success, Smith is clearly a writer with extraordinary gifts, from whom great things should be expected.—Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School Library, VT

[Page 148]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.