Sunday, December 29, 2019

Review of "Travel Team: High Heat," by Andrew Karre

Review of

Travel Team: High Heat, by Andrew Karre ISBN 9780761383222

Four out of five stars

 This is another story in the series featuring the Las Vegas Roadrunners traveling baseball team and while there is some tension in the big game, the real focus is on some of the darker aspects of high level, extremely competitive youth sports. The Roadrunners are very well funded, coached and possess a great deal of talent. Some of which is likely to end up in the major leagues.

 Seth Carter is a very good pitcher for the Roadrunners and his father pushes him hard to succeed. The pressure is so intense that Seth has what is called the “Tommy John” surgery. It is the operation where a tendon is removed from the non-dominant arm and used to replace the tendon in the pitching arm. It serves to revitalize the arm, making it more powerful than it was. Seth is a power pitcher, so once he recovers, his pitches are even faster than before. Seth is deeply disturbed when he hits a batter in the head and he then suffers from other self-doubts and uncertainties.

 The structure of the text is that of that of a directed interrogation of Seth by an unnamed questioner. There is a fundamental reason for this, for even though there is a victory on the field near the end, there is something far more serious that takes place afterward. In many ways this is a book that is realistic about the intensity of teenage team sports and the toll it takes on some of the more talented players. Due to that reality, this is a somewhat depressing book.

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