Published by Dial Books
Summary: Three years ago, Vivy Cohen met MLB player VJ Capello. He showed her how to throw a knuckleball, and she’s practiced it almost every day since then. When her social skills class homework is to write someone a letter, she writes to VJ about her baseball hopes and dreams. She enjoys the experience so much that she continues to send letters telling him about her new baseball team, where she’s the only girl, and how her autism sometimes makes it difficult to be on a team. A month later, VJ writes back, and they begin a correspondence filled with encouragement, advice, and friendship. Turns out VJ is having troubles of his own following a disastrous game 7 in the previous World Series. Being a Black knuckleballer makes him sometims feel as much of an outsider as Vivy does. Both VJ and Vivy have to overcome obstacles that threaten to end their baseball careers, but by the end they’ve each managed to claw their way to play for another season. 336 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: Who doesn’t like a good baseball story? And this one, completely written in the format of letters, is a quick and breezy read, but still offering plenty of substance about Vivy dealing with the challenges with her autism and the team bully (who is also the coach’s son), keeping her brother’s secret about being gay, and dealing with a serious injury and a protective mom.
Cons: While I guess it makes sense that VJ wouldn’t write a lot of personal information to an 11-year-old girl, I still found myself wishing to know more about him and his life.