Book: Heavy Hitters
Series: Game Changers #3
Author: Mike Lupito
Ben and his friends, the Core Four Plus One, are so excited to play in their town's All-Star Baseball league. But in the first game of the season Ben gets hit by a pitch. It's never happened to him before and it shakes him up.
Another player on Ben's team, Justin, is acting really weirdly. Ben's known Justin for a while and they're friendly but he's not one of Ben's closest "boys." Justin is the team's best hitter but his behavior on and off the field is erratic.
Ben discovers that Justin's parents are getting a divorce and Justin is thinking about quitting the team. Like good teammates do, Justin helps Ben deal with his issues at bat while Ben is there for his friend while his family is struggling.-Goodreads
Review: This was a book club selection for the 5th grade book club I mentor. Without reading the previous books in the series, I feel like I was missing a connection with 'core four' of friends other than Ben, the main character. The rest of the group seemed interchangeable. I think the sections involving Ben and Justin (the 'plus one') were extremely well written and provided great discussion points for kids around that age (divorce, being there for your friends, etc). My primary challenge with this book is that it seemed like 50% of it was focused on actual baseball games the boys were playing. I wish the author had spent more time on the boy interacting with each other off the field.