Home Team (Books 1 & 2)

The Only Game (Home Team, #1)The Only Game
by Mike Lupica
Grades 4 & up

Jack not only loves baseball, he is really good at it. He is widely acknowledged as one of the best baseball players in his town and this year he and his best friend Gus have a real shot at taking their team all the way to the Little League World Series. Except that Jack is still processing his older brother’s sudden death and decides that he can’t play baseball this season. The decision tears him up inside as does his best friend’s desertion. Jack looks for ways to still keep some baseball in his life, finding new friends and opportunities, while still unwilling to tell his parents and Gus the real reason he quit. This is a powerful book on both an emotional and baseball level. It is full of exciting play-by-plays as well as quiet introspection. Highly recommended for baseball lovers, grades 4 & up. The first in a series.

The Extra Yard (Home Team, #2)The Extra Yard
by Mike Lupica
Grades 4 & up

This second book in the Home Team series takes Jack, Gus, Teddy, & Cassie into football season. (This one is told from Teddy’s point of view.) A new league has formed in their area, one step above Pop Warner and the three boys try out. It has always been Teddy’s dream to play football, and after his transformation in The Only Game, he finally gets that chance. He still lacks self-confidence, but with Jack, Gus, and Cassie on his side, he plays his hardest and makes the team. His life at home is shook up when his father (whom he has seen 6 times in 8 years) moves back to town. To complicate matters more, Teddy’s father is good friends with the football coach and starts showing up at all of the practices. Teddy doesn’t want to let his dad back into his life, but he may not have a choice, since he also wants to be the best football player that he can. Filled with drama both on and off the field, this book will appeal to football players and fans of the first book. I recommend reading the series in order for a better understanding of the characters. I’m looking forward to the next book, which will hopefully be basketball. Recommended for grades 4 & up.

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