Golden Arm

HMH. Apr. 2020. 368p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780358012429.
Gr 7 Up–As he enters his senior year of high school, Lazarus “Laz” Weathers’s life already seems to be heading toward a dead end. Laz stutters, his struggles in school mean college isn’t an option, the trailer park where he lives is about to be shut down, and his beloved brother has started hanging out with the local drug dealer. The only bright spot on Laz’s horizon is baseball. Laz is a gifted pitcher, but his hopes of getting recruited for the minor leagues are dashed when his high school team forfeits at the beginning of their season. Fortunately, a last-minute chance to pitch for a wealthy school across town gives him one final chance to escape the trailer park and make a life for himself. Acclaimed sportswriter Deuker deftly weaves baseball action into a solid coming-of-age tale, as Laz navigates the class divide when the well-off Thurmans take him in when he switches schools. Pressures from coaches and scouts build, and Laz is forced into a reckoning as he must decide what is truly important to him—his career or his family.
VERDICT Short chapters and easy-to-follow writing make this book a strong choice for any school with a collection of sports fiction.

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