July 28, 2020
Whether they’re on the baseball field or in Nate’s basement devouring the newest issue of their favorite comic book, Dan and Nate are always talking. Until they’re not.
After an accident at baseball practice, Nate’s fallen into a coma. And if Dan ever wants to talk to Nate again, he’s got to take a page out of his hero Captain Nexus’s book, and do whatever it takes to save the day.
But heroes have powers—and without Nate, all Dan has is a closet stuffed with comics and a best-friend-shaped hole in his heart. There’s no way a regular kid can save the day all on his own. Right?
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
I am not really a fan of baseball OR of superheroes, but my students ARE, and this was the perfect amalgamation of both. Alternating those two interests helped the story moving along. The wishful thinking exhibited by Dan is so typical of middle school students, and his dedication to helping his friend, even though there was really nothing he could do, was touching. I adored the food inspector mother and all of her warnings about different restaurants, and the subplot with the father's work keeping him busy was surprisingly touching. George Sanderson's story added an intriguing and darker layer to this as well. This was a somewhat unusual story, and the writing was strong. I'll be very interested to see future books from this author, especially if they can combine football or basketball with deeper issues!
This is a contender to be my Cybils Award nomination for 2020. There's sports and comic books, which kids will love, but also a very deep and moving portrayal of a difficult and emotional epoch in a young man's life. Combined with the cover (a baseball mitt AND superheroes!), this will be a great choice for readers who want a fast-paced, interesting book that also sneaks in some emotional depth. Hand this to fans of either baseball or comics, or readers who enjoyed Graff's Lost in the Sun and Northrop's Plunked.
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