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Best of the Best: A Baseball Great Novel

Review

Best of the Best: A Baseball Great Novel

Are you a winner even if you lose the game? That's the question explored in Tim Green's BEST OF THE BEST. The third in a series of stories surrounding the fledgling career of 12-year-old Josh LeBlanc, this book is another home run for Green. Previous novels have been about winning in the face of mystery and adversity, but his latest delves into the emotional life of a young athlete experiencing a tough personal time.

Going through a slump is part of the game regardless of the sport. All teams and players have ups and downs for whatever reasons. Little leaguer Josh has been riding high on his abilities to pitch and bat, and his teams are the proud owners of some trophies to prove how good they are as a group. But Josh discovers a disturbing situation at home that threatens to challenge his ability to concentrate on the game: His parents are splitting up.

Josh's mom and dad are upset about the turn of events, but their adult pride makes it difficult to patch things up quickly. The issue surrounding their break-up involves another woman, and Josh's mom is reluctant to look the other way. When his dad moves out of the house, Josh is determined to do something, anything, to get them back together. But he has an important game to play on the team possibly headed to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and keeping his focus on the game is questionable.

Josh again gets the help of his best pals, Jaden Neidermeyer and Benji Lido, in playing baseball and finding a way to bring his dad home. They discover the "other woman" still involved with her ex-husband and wonder if proof of that will stop the downward spiral of the LeBlanc family. But they have to get on the bus for the prelims and win some baseball games first. Are the personal distractions too much for Josh to put aside and just play ball?

BEST OF THE BEST is well-designed around the age-old questions of dedication and teamwork. Both are required for the success of a team or a family. Tim Green handles the emotional edge of a family in crisis alongside the tensions of winning to craft a powerful book with a strong message. What's really important in life?

Reviewed by Joy Held on March 22, 2011

Best of the Best: A Baseball Great Novel
by Tim Green

  • Publication Date: February 21, 2012
  • Genres: Fiction, Young Adult 9+
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0061686247
  • ISBN-13: 9780061686245