Friday, January 31, 2020

Review of "Dugout Rivals," by Fred Bowen

Review of

Dugout Rivals, by Fred Bowen ISBN 9781561455157

Four out of five stars

 The author has written an entire series of books in adolescent sports fiction that cover many different sports. As the title implies, this one is about baseball. Jake Daley loves playing baseball and after a few seasons where his playing chances were limited, he anticipates being a regular and a star in the upcoming season. His team is the Red Sox and the team is in the Woodside Baseball League. His position is shortstop and he practices and plays hard.

 The tryouts for new players are taking place before the season starts and one new player quickly catches Jake’s eye. His name is Adam and he is a complete player, superior to Jake in all aspects of the game, running, hitting, fielding and pitching. Adam is their best pitcher, but due to league rules that limit mound time, Adam often plays shortstop while Jake is shifted to second base.

 This leads to a lot of resentment on the part of Jake and he must work through it, for Adam does not flaunt his superior skills and is always friendly. While Jake’s parents are together, Adam’s are divorced and apparently in a state of constant acrimony, which helps Jake gain some empathy for Adam, helping him to cope with his feelings. There is a big game at the end where Jake comes to understand that it takes a team to win.

 This is a good story about the life and emotions of an adolescent, where sports are important but where the other aspects of life are also highlighted. It is very modern, in that the left fielder’s name is Hannah and one of the featured players has divorced parents.

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