Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip

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Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip
Publisher
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
March 01, 2012
ISBN
978-0545320696
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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.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Another home run from Sonnenblick
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Peter is a hotshot baseball pitcher who works well with his lunkhead friend AJ until a serious elbow injury makes it impossible for him to pitch or play ball ever again. Peter's grandfather is a wedding photographer who has always encouraged Peter to take pictures, so Peter starts out the year in 9th grade taking Intro to Photography, but soon gets moved to the advanced class. Moving with him is Angelika, a smart mouthed but cute girl who shares his interests. When Peter's grandfather suddenly gives him all of his photography equipment, Peter is grateful but also worried about the mental lapses that his grandfather has been having. He and Angelika are made the coeditors of the yearbook sports photo division, so spend a lot of time together. AJ still thinks that Peter will end up pitching and tries to get him to get ready for try outs. He and Angelika become closer but also face some challenges. The grandfather's condition continues to deteriorate. All of these threads draw together for a very satisfying ending. San Lee from Zen and the Art of Faking It makes a few cameo appearances!
Good Points
I cannot do justice to this book. It is truly an awesome piece of fiction. I laughed hysterically, but I also cried in the end. NO ONE writes like Sonnenblick, although I wish that I could. The characters are complex but likable, the relationships true-to-life and poignant, and the scene where Peter inadvertently ends up with a hangover-- so, so funny. But with a lesson! I need five copies. Seriously.
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Another Great Book From Jordan Sonnenblick
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Peter Friedman's freshman year is not shaping up the way he had hoped. He always dreamed that he and his best friend, AJ, would be the young heroes of the high school baseball team, beloved by girls and worshipped by everyone else. Unfortunately, he ruins his pitching arm before the year even begins, and his grandfather is suddenly acting strange, giving Peter his expensive camera equipment and spacing out. Suddenly, Peter has to redefine himself, and he is fortunate to have Angelika, a cool girl from his photography class, to help him do it.

No one writes teenage boys like Jordan Sonnenblick. He is able to hook the most reluctant readers and prolific enough that by the time they've finished all his books, there is nothing reluctant about them. While baseball is the impetus for much of the drama, CURVEBALL: THE YEAR I LOST MY GRIP should not be considered a sports book. It is so much more than that, and one that will appeal to male and female readers.

Grampa's decline into Alzheimer's is heartbreaking. Peter can't bear to lose his hero, so he keeps Grampa's secret, long after he knows that he shouldn't. Sadly, this seems to be Peter's defining quality, which makes him less endearing than Sonnenblick's previous protagonists. Still, denying a problem until it becomes worse is age-appropriate and will be relatable for readers.

Despite the heavy topics, CURVEBALL is humorous, particularly when Peter adjusts to high school life. Although he hides the extent of his injury from AJ for too long, their friendship is fun and it will be easy for readers to project themselves onto their friendship, as well as Peter's relationship with Angelika. At times I wished that Peter could be more distinctive, but I see that having keeping him as a broad character will make him more appealing to a wider audience.
Good Points
Sonnenblick is an amazing writer.
I love Peter's relationship with his grandfather.
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1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0  (1)
Characters 
 
5.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (1)
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Funny and deep
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip, by Jordan Sonnenblick, is one of the funniest, sweetest books I’ve read all year. Yeah, it’s only February, but I bet if you ask me again in December I’ll say the same thing. If you know and love anyone with Alzheimer’s Disease, you’ve got to read this book!

The hook is that fourteen-year-old Peter is reinventing himself after a devastating baseball injury. His freshman year seems to hold promise after he teams up with a pretty girl named Angelika in photography. But at home, Peter watches his grandpa lose his memory bit by bit, and feels powerless to help.

I don’t know anything about photography so I can’t tell if those parts of the book were accurate or not, but the way the author portrayed Alzheimer’s Disease was spot on. It was perfect, absolutely perfect.

Thank you, Jordan, for writing this book, and thank you to Scholastic for publishing it.
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