Synopses & Reviews
Sometimes, the greatest comebacks take place far away from the ball field.
Meet Peter Friedman, high school freshman. Talented photographer. Former baseball star. When a freakish injury ends his pitching career, Peter has some major things to figure out. Is there life after sports? Why has his grandfather suddenly given him thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment? And is it his imagination, or is the super-hot star of the girls' swim team flirting with him, right in front of the amazing new girl in his photography class? In his new novel, teen author Jordan Sonnenblick performs his usual miraculous feat: exploring deep themes of friendship, romance, family, and tragedy, while still managing to be hilariously funny.
"The start of Peter's freshman year is marked by twin tragedies: a serious arm injury during a baseball game means his pitching days are over, and his beloved grandfather, a photographer who taught Peter how to shoot, is losing his memory. Peter tries to keep the extent of both problems hidden the first from his best friend and fellow pitcher, AJ, and the second from his mother, per his grandfather's request. But his secrets prove harder and harder to keep, especially when his new girlfriend and fellow photography enthusiast, Angelika, gives him an ultimatum, and his deteriorating grandfather ends up in an emergency situation. Sonnenblick's story may be straightforward, but Peter's natural and self-effacing narrative voice makes it sing. The novel is populated with kind, vulnerable characters who care about each other (mellow San from Zen and the Art of Faking It even makes an appearance), and the thoroughly enjoyable mix of sports, art, family drama, and budding romance will have readers invested in Peter's struggles to accept his new world and appreciate what he has. Ages 12 up. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
a JLG selection "A strike is a strike, a ball is a ball. But what happens when the rules aren't so clear? You may scream at umpires, but you'll cheer and whoop for a kiddo who's trying with all his heart and guts to find a right way."
—Gary Schmidt, two-time Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award Finalist "Screaming at the Ump will make kids cheer! Baseball fans will love these funny, heart-warming characters, and the unique view of the game from behind the plate."
—Tim Green, New York Times bestselling author of Baseball Great and Best of the Best "This novel is a true original. If youve never read about umpires school before (and, seriously, who has?) youre going to enjoy this book. Vernicks writing is funny, poignant, and especially wise when it comes to dispelling the preconceived notions we sometimes cling to." —Todd Strasser, internationally bestselling author of The Wave, Fallout, and other titles
"Vernick laces her tale with humor, plus credible insights into the truly difficult art and techniques of umpiring, as she leads her aspiring journalist to make some good choices in the wake of a realization that people (parents included) should have more than one chance to get their calls right."
"Multiple threads come together in a well-crafted way when Casey realizes the same skills an umpire needs—being objective and fair, knowing the rules, and being int he right spot to make the call—also apply to becoming a good journalist and healing his broken relationship with his mother."
"Its the peek into the world of professional umpire training that carries the interest here, culminating in the fictional but tantalizing event, You Suck, Ump! Day, in which students perform under intense pressure of a local crowd recruited to heckle them on the field."
"Believable characters, fast-paced action, ample dialogue, Casey's first-person voice, and great descriptions of Zeke's hyperactivity make this a probable home run for lots of middle-schoolers."
"A solid choice for middle-grade readers."
—School Library Journal
Twelve-year-old Casey Snowden, who lives with his dad and grandfather at their family-run umpire school, must navigate the start of middle school, his mothers unwelcome reappearance in his life, and the possibility that a student umpire might be a famous fallen baseball player in disguise.
Twelve-year-old Casey Snowden knows everything about being an umpire. His dad and grandfather run a New Jersey umpire school, Behind the Plate, and Casey lives and breathes baseball. Caseys dream, however, is to be a reporter—objective, impartial, and fair, just like an ump. But when he stumbles upon a sensational story involving a former major league player in exile, he finds that the ethics of publishing it are cloudy at best. This emotionally charged coming-of-age novel about baseball, divorce, friendship, love, and compassion challenges its readers to consider all the angles before calling that strike.
About the Author
Jordan Sonnenblick is the author of the acclaimed DRUMS, GIRLS, & DANGEROUS PIE, NOTES FROM THE MIDNIGHT DRIVER, ZEN AND THE ART OF FAKING IT, and the sequel to DRUMS called AFTER EVER AFTER. He lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two children.