“Battery Brothers” by Steve Carman
Baseball, fiction, Young Adult (YA), family
March 27, 2014
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
Andy Lembo is a high school baseball catcher who is trying out for the team at a new high school in his senior year. His younger brother Daniel is a pitcher who has caught the eye of scouts who hope to sign him when he completes school. Andy and Daniel have shared a lot in their young lives – broken home, dysfunctional parents but baseball was their passion. They dreamed of winning a championship together.
Their journey toward this goal and the awful detour that occurred is the basis of this terrific young adult novel by Steve Carman. The story is told from Andy’s point of view and it is one that is filled with trouble. Andy was abused by his mother when she applied a hot iron to his face when he was toddler. She soon left the boys and their father. As for the father, he is shown to be a parent who favors one child, Daniel, because he has the talent to go far. Andy believes that his father doesn’t hold him in the same regard. Add anxiety attacks and self-doubt on his ability to obtain good grades and socialize and you have a good picture of most of the issues that trouble Andy.
Baseball is Andy’s escape from this, but even that didn’t go smoothly. Andy was among the final cuts to the varsity team, but ended up on the team later when the starting catcher was injured. Daniel continued to pitch well and also bond with his older brother. The love shared between the two of them is evident and when a freak accident occurs during a game, Andy’s world is shattered – both in baseball and more importantly, in his life. He doesn’t think he has the strength to continue either baseball or school. What he eventually decides to do is a heartwarming story that will leave the reader cheering and maybe even in tears. I had both emotions flowing through me as the story progressed. Some parts were predictable, some weren’t but it is one that must be read by anyone who loves a good story about young adults who are learning what life will be like as a grown-up.
The baseball portions of the book are well-written and describe the action of the game in vivid detail. These, along with the rest of the book, are accurately described as they would be by a 17 year old boy as there is youth slang and short sentences throughout the book. Because the book is focused on Andy, we don’t know a lot about the other characters, including Daniel. The reader will only know these characters through Andy’s vision. For me, that still gave me enough insight to get a feel for what these people were like and how they all helped shape Andy into the person he is.
Any reader who loves a good story of a young man coming of age, especially when that young man has to deal with many different issues, will want to read this book. Baseball fans will enjoy the account of Andy’s exploits on the diamond. Fans of the young adult genre will cheer on Andy throughout the book. It is simply a book that I believe any reader will enjoy.
I wish to thank Mr. Carman for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Did I skim?
No, because I wanted to make sure I enjoyed every word of this story.
Did I feel connected to the characters?
Yes. I especially related to Andy’s anxiety when he took the mound during each game and the excitement as well as the nervousness that all players at that age feel when they are on the field. It doesn’t matter the level of play or the type of field – all players feel this on the field.
Pace of the story:
Excellent – the reader is really connected to Andy and Daniel in the book without slowing down the pace of the story. Because it is written in Andy’s POV and language, I felt that kept the story moving as well.
Do I recommend?
Yes – for anyone, any age who simply enjoys a good book. While having knowledge of baseball helps with those passages, any reader who wants to read an uplifting story should grab this one.
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