Published by Henry Holt in 2005, this book jumped out at me on the MG shelves. A girl determined to beat the odds, to play with the boys, to be the best, battling even her coach. Yes, please!
Fran Cullers is having a horrible summer. She was a star player on the Little League team in her old town, so the Highwater Hardwares should be thrilled to have her--except that they hate girls. Fran can run rings around these guys, but they won't even give her a chance. So she sets out to teach them a lesson. But Fran finds out that vengeance is a dangerous thing. Her best friend stops talking to her. Her childhood hero gives up on her. And Fran, who has already faced some terrible losses, is about to lose the most important thing in her life forever--baseball. Can she pull her game together before it's too late?
This is a quick read, at 154 pages. I can easily see Fran. She's me at 13, but even tougher. She's also independent, not looking to others to solve her problems,and trying to determine what dreams she can hold onto and what dreams she has to let go. It' a touching, powerful story of loss, recovery, and the choices me make.
At times, I felt the coach was a bit over the top sexist and racist, so he read a little flat to me, but Fran and her father, they were very much 3 dimensional. Fran goes through a hitting slump and I couldn't help but think of my hitting slump at 13. I totally related to her fear and dread of being at the plate and celebrated with her when she conquered it.
This story has a rather satisfying climax and resolution that made my heart happy and had me rooting for not only Fran, but all the Highwater Hardwares players.
I hope you'll give Fran and MY 13th SEASON a read!