Fox Point’s Own Gemma Hopper by Brie Spangler

Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers

Summary:  Gemma’s dealing with a lot at the beginning of seventh grade:  her mom has recently abandoned the family, leaving Gemma to deal with taking care of her baseball star older brother, twin kid brothers, and her dad who spends most of his time working.  At six feet tall, she can’t hide out at school, and her best friend’s attempts to get in with the popular kids make her feel like a loser.  She loves baseball, but only gets to play when her brother needs batting practice.  Usually, she pitches what he wants, but one day, she’s so fed up that she does her own thing.  Her amazing pitches are captured on camera and go viral, catching the attention of the same scouts who discovered her brother.  Suddenly Gemma is in the spotlight, and she discovers that, while it can be scary, it’s a more exciting place to be than where she’s been hiding.  272 pages; ages 4-7.

Pros:  Readers will be rooting for Gemma as she deals with a family that doesn’t always appreciate her and the usual friend dramas of middle school.  Accepting that her mom is gone helps her to move on, and the last few pages are completely emotionally satisfying.

Cons:  I prefer full-color illustrations.

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