Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith

I'm feeling a little lazy today so here's a description from amazon:

The last place Ryan Walsh should be this afternoon is on a train heading to Wrigley Field. She should be in class, enduring yet another miserable day of her first year of high school. But for once, Ryan isn't thinking about what she should be doing. She's not worried about her lack of friends, or her suffering math grade, or how it's been five whole years since the last time she was really and truly happy. Because she's finally returning to the place that her father loved, where the two of them spent so many afternoons cheering on their team. And on this -- the fifth anniversary of his death -- it feels like there's nowhere else in the world she should be.

Ryan is once again filled with hope as she makes her way to the game. Good luck is often hard to come by at a place like Wrigley Field, but it's on this day that she meets Nick, the new kid from her school, who seems to love the Cubs nearly as much as she does. But Nick carries with him a secret that makes Ryan wonder if anyone can ever really escape their past, or believe in the promise of those reassuring words: "Wait till next year." Is it too much for Ryan to hope that this year, this season, might be her comeback season?

I truly admire that the author created a truly human experience. Whether or not it was what I was hoping for, it was real. It's heart-breaking but hopeful, and that is the novel's message that in spit of whatever may come we will always hope, want to believe in the magical and miracles.

I don't think I could read this book again, at least anytime soon, but I know it will resonate with me for a long time. How could you not root for Nick and Ryan? It's near impossible. For people who have been through as much as they have you almost think it would be cruel to deal them anything more horrendous. Yet Smith pushes her characters, and her readers, to the limit. She leaves us with a sliver of light in a door at the end of a novel-something we must chose what to do with. She begs the question-do you believe in hope?

Baseball is a strong metaphor in the novel. Nick and Ryan cling to it for their lives. I loved learning more about die-hard Cubs fans but more than anything how people will use something meaningful to them to bring them to the surface of a deep sea of hurt. Having this in common Nick and Ryan find strength in themselves to embrace friendship and mostly tenderly, first love.

Pick up this novel. It will change you. I loved it.

Rating: 5.0

1 comment:

Jill of The O.W.L. said...

Oh wow! I just got this book and didn't realize it was that serious. Thanks for the review so I know better what to expect now!

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