Monday, December 13, 2010
The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith
The Comeback Season
By Jennifer E. Smith
February 23, 2010
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 246 pages
The last place Ryan Walsh should be this afternoon is on a train heading to Wrigley Field. She should be in class, enduring yet another miserable day of her first year of high school. But for once, Ryan isn't thinking about what she should be doing. She's not worried about her lack of friends, or her suffering math grade, or how it's been five whole years since the last time she was really and truly happy. Because she's finally returning to the place that her father loved, where the two of them spent so many afternoons cheering on their team. And on this—the fifth anniversary of his death—it feels like there's nowhere else in the world she should be.
Ryan is once again filled with hope as she makes her way to the game. Good luck is often hard to come by at a place like Wrigley Field, but it's on this day that she meets Nick, the new kid from her school, who seems to love the Cubs nearly as much as she does. But Nick carries with him a secret that makes Ryan wonder if anyone can ever really escape their past, or believe in the promise of those reassuring words: "Wait till next year." Is it too much for Ryan to hope that this year, this season, might be her comeback season?
— Amazon.com description
I couldn't care less about the Chicago Cubs. And baseball in general.
THERE! I SAID IT!
As a Chicagoan, this isn't something I would normally admit to anyone because, to put it mildly, people here take their baseball seriously.
But regardless of whether you care about baseball (or are a rival White Sox fan), I think you have to admire how faithfully Cubs fans overlook their bad plays and their so-called curses, consistently vowing that "there's always next year."
Where does hope like that come from?
That's the question that's really explored in this book. So, yeah...I hate baseball, but I loved this book because it's about so much more than a ballgame. The Comeback Season is about first love, lost friendships, grief and—above all—hope.
I don't want to say more and spoil anything, but I can say Jennifer E. Smith does a beautiful job of paralleling the game of baseball with the game of life. When things are looking their worst, how do you hold on to your hope for a comeback? It's definitely a question worth exploring in this great but heartbreaking book.
Also, a round of applause for a book for that will show teen girls who like sports that they're not alone. To me, YA fiction is all about building that sense of understanding and inclusion.
Bonus: It's so fun to read about my hometown. Has anyone else out there read a book that's set where they live? Please share!
If you like this book, you might also like: Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock