Saturday, July 19, 2014

Heat by Mike Lupica


Michael is the lead pitcher for his little league team.  Although he has never had his pitches clocked officially, his best friend and catcher Manny is sure Michael is throwing at 80 miles per hour.  The best friends are hoping their team is good enough to make it to the play off game in Yankee Stadium this year.  Off the field, Michael has a big problem to deal with:  His father died several months before and Michael and his older brother Carlos are trying to keep Papi's death a secret until Carlos turns 18 when he will be able to be Michael's legal guardian.  Carlos is working hard to support them but their cover-up is in danger of being revealed when a jealous opponent accuses Michael of being older than he is and the little league commission requires Michael's birth certificate to prove he is just 12. 

I am not a fan of sports books because of the extended descriptions of the plays and games.  I don't know enough about any sport to fully grasp the play on the field/court just by reading about it, especially when it is filled with sports jargon.  This book had several such scenes but it also had a fairly winning story about Michael's problems.  Michael himself is a nice boy and I was rooting for him to come out ahead as the issues kept piling up. With many sports books, I skim or skip the game descriptions and I did with Heat as well.  But unlike other sports book I've read, I still cared about the character aside from the game and didn't get bogged down in the game play.  I surprised myself by liking this book as much as I did.