Butterflies in your stomach. Sweat pouring down your face in rivulets. Your heart is beating as loud as booming thunder. Pushed to your limits. Everyone putting their faith in you. The soft leather in your glove. Restless parents screaming in the stands. Competing against the best of the best. Uneasiness building up in you, causing you to become lightheaded and dizzy. Despite all the distractions, you get in the zone. Nothing can break your concentration now. Everything is tuned out once you’re up at bat. The only thing visible to you is the blazing pitch flying to the plate and you hear the sweet crack of the bat as the ball clears the fence by a mile. The crowd shrieks and waves their hands. Baseball… Josh’s life. Being the best of the best is Josh’s most noteworthy objective he wants to meet in life. This means beating every team in the world and coming out on top. Can Josh handle the challenge, rise above, and become the best of the best?
Josh is a six foot tall, stellar baseball player. Despite his height, he is only 12 years old. His mom and dad are on the verge of divorce when his dad meets Dianne, a devious, impulsive, and deceitful woman who Josh despises. Dianne is stealing all of his dad’s affection from his mom, tearing apart their once blissful marriage. On top of this burden, Josh is on a Little League baseball team and hoping to win the World Series. Because Diane is the president of Little League Baseball, Marcus, her son, secured a spot on the team’s lineup. Josh is forced to cooperate with him. He is more aggravating and mischievous than a little brother. In other words, he is a pest. Josh dislikes Dianne and her son so much, that he tries numerous times to get rid of her. Finally Josh and his friend, Jaden, come to a solution to pin Dianne on her abysmal actions. Can Josh still lead his team to victory in the World Series despite his stress and pressure to succeed?
I was glad when Josh’s dad drove all the way to Williamsport from Syracuse. This showed that Josh’s dad went countless strides to be at the most significant game of his son’s life. He had a very important job that gave him rare days off, but he felt he needed to be there for his son, no matter what disputes have ensued with the family in the past few weeks. No father would miss a worldwide, electrifying game like this, which made me feel delighted that Josh’s dad understood this. I found it very genuine that Jaden sympathized with Josh when he felt like he was in the bottom of a pit and would never get out. Josh’s dad was spellbound by Dianne and did not realize how much he was hurting the family. Jaden allowed Josh to let his feelings and emotions pour out faster than anything he’s ever done, although he was acting very selfish. She didn’t laugh like many of Josh’s friends would. Instead, she attempted to cheer him up. I disliked the character Dianne. She influenced Josh’s life in the worst way possible. She only thought of her own feelings and removed Josh’s father from his life. This affected Josh’s play in baseball and his emotions. On days of practice Josh would hit several fly balls, ground outs, and strike outs. In addition, this caused Josh to lose sleep, staying up all night worrying about his future. Dianne also made Josh hang out with Marcus many times, arranging the boys to room together and go out for ice cream together. Marcus was an immature, filthy boy who hated to be around other people. He did a variety of nauseating pranks on Josh. These were Josh’s most miserable moments of his life. Overall, I thought the book was very well written. The author taught me more about baseball, like how to catch a pop up, how to have a stronger swing, or what to do when three teammates are running for the ball at the same time. Knowing more about baseball has made me more interested in the sport. If you love sports and a great story, pick up Best of the Best by Tim Green!
Click here to read an earlier review and interview with Tim Green! http://blogs.ellingtonschools.org/larkin/2012/06/13/deep-zone-by-tim-green-a-review-and-an-interview/
Or visit Tim’s Goodreads page to find out more about him and his novels! http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/48914.Tim_Green
You can also visit his website – http://www.timgreenbooks.com/
Julie B., EMS Blogger