Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip

( 32 )

Overview


Sometimes life's greatest accomplishments take place off the field.

There's nothing All Star pitcher Peter Friedman loves more than baseball. It's his life. He breathes baseball, dreams about it, and works his tail off to be great. Most kids are nervous about starting high school, but Pete's amazing arm is going to make his life pretty easy.

Until freshman year doesn't turn out as planned. A pitching accident over the summer ruins his arm. If ...

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Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip

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Overview


Sometimes life's greatest accomplishments take place off the field.

There's nothing All Star pitcher Peter Friedman loves more than baseball. It's his life. He breathes baseball, dreams about it, and works his tail off to be great. Most kids are nervous about starting high school, but Pete's amazing arm is going to make his life pretty easy.

Until freshman year doesn't turn out as planned. A pitching accident over the summer ruins his arm. If he isn't the star pitcher, then who is he? Pete's best friend and pitching partner, AJ, tells him he'll be back to his normal self by spring training. To make matters more complicated, there's something going on with Pete's grampa -- and Pete's mother doesn't want to talk about it.

The only person Pete can confide in is Angelika, the amazingly cute girl in his photography class who might like Pete as much as he likes her . . . only Angie doesn't know if she can date someone who can't be honest with himself, or with the people he's closest to.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Curveball:

"Jordan Sonnenblick scores a home run with Curveball as he continues what he does best: getting to the core of issues that resonate with teens in a style that's direct and witty." – Book Page

* "Sonnenblick again shows an adept ability to tackle big-deal life issues, treat them seriously and believably, and filter them into a high-spirited, even fun story." – Booklist, starred review

* "The novel is populated with kind, vulnerable characters who care about each other, and the thoroughly enjoyable mix of sports, art, family drama, and budding romance will have readers invested in Peter's struggles to accept his new world." – Publishers Weekly, starred review

Publishers Weekly
The start of Peter’s freshman year is marked by twin tragedies: a serious arm injury during a baseball game means his pitching days are over, and his beloved grandfather, a photographer who taught Peter how to shoot, is losing his memory. Peter tries to keep the extent of both problems hidden—the first from his best friend and fellow pitcher, AJ, and the second from his mother, per his grandfather’s request. But his secrets prove harder and harder to keep, especially when his new girlfriend and fellow photography enthusiast, Angelika, gives him an ultimatum, and his deteriorating grandfather ends up in an emergency situation. Sonnenblick’s story may be straightforward, but Peter’s natural and self-effacing narrative voice makes it sing. The novel is populated with kind, vulnerable characters who care about each other (mellow San from Zen and the Art of Faking It even makes an appearance), and the thoroughly enjoyable mix of sports, art, family drama, and budding romance will have readers invested in Peter’s struggles to accept his new world and appreciate what he has. Ages 12–up. (Mar.)
VOYA - Alicia Abdul
One part sports story, one part family drama, and one part romance, Peter must navigate high school without baseball, try to keep the secret that his grandfather has advancing Alzheimer's, and romance a witty upperclassmen who shares his passion for photography. His existence has been rooted in pitching but now his identity is questioned in the absence of the sport he loved best. Instead, he turns for solace to photography, which is how Peter bonded with his grandfather throughout childhood. Bolstering him is unlikely but charming Angelika, who has become Peter's girlfriend through happenstance and with a no-nonsense attitude, encourages him to discover his talents off the diamond after suffering a debilitating arm injury. Sonnenblick attempts to create a goofy teen that perseveres yet the sentimental is only fleetingly mixed with the uninteresting banality of Peter's friendships, thoughts, and girlfriend issues. So, expectantly for the disappointing narrative, Peter's new passion for photography has instantly made him popular while bringing closure and dignity to his senile grandfather in the closing chapters. Sonnenblick's acclaimed After Ever After (Scholastic, 2010/VOYA February 2010) may be a better selection for the shelves because the vacillations between amusing situational comedy and serious quality-of-life conversations blend too many tribulations of adolescence to keep focused, making this new release feel disorganized. Reviewer: Alicia Abdul
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Peter Friedman is very excited about pitching the last baseball game of his eighth grade year. He envisions that he and his best friend AJ will continue to be baseball stars in high school. Peter was not prepared for the massive injury that ends his baseball career. While he pretends to friends that he may pitch again, the doctors have assured him that he will not. To make matters worse, his beloved Grandpa is showing signs of confusion. Beginning ninth grade is not a fun prospect. However, he must choose an activity and since Grandpa, a professional photographer, has given Peter his camera equipment, Peter signs up for the Photography Club. Here he meets Angelika and his life begins to look cheerier. Angelika and Peter work on projects together and become the sports photographers for the school newspaper. While Peter must learn to accept his physical limitations and Grandpa's deteriorating mental capacity, this engaging novel is not at all depressing. Readers will enjoy watching Peter as he stumbles through his first boy/girl relationship. While the title may indicate this is simply another baseball book, it is not. Peter's story is one that readers of both genders will enjoy. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
ALAN Review - Barbara A. Ward
Incoming freshman Peter Friedman and his best friend AJ have everything planned out. They'll use their baseball prowess as tickets to success and popularity in high school. After a devastating arm injury precludes playing baseball, Pete feels lost without the sport around which his identity has been based. Using the camera equipment his grandfather gives him, he realizes that there is much truth revealed from behind the lens, but whose truth is it—the subject's or the photographer's? Pete's life becomes complicated by Angelika, a classmate who shares his passion for the camera but demands honesty with himself and others. Pete is also concerned about how Alzheimer's is robbing his grandfather of his most precious memories. Although Pete does, indeed, lose his grip on life at several points, he regains his equilibrium and shows readers the benefits of self-honesty. Filled with humor, pathos, and insight, this page-turner is another homerun. Reviewer: Barbara A. Ward
School Library Journal
Gr 7–9—Sonnenblick adds to his growing list of distinguished YA novels with this tale of a youngster whose dreams of baseball glory are crushed when an injury ruins his pitching arm. Realizing that his baseball career is over, Peter Friedman, 13, turns to sports photography, in emulation of his beloved grandfather, who was a professional photographer. It soon becomes evident, however, that Grampa is slipping into senility. Peter feels that his parents are unwilling to accept this reality, and so he attempts to deal with his grandfather's growing impairment on his own, with near-catastrophic results. He also keeps the extent of his arm injury secret from his best friend, the popular and outgoing AJ, who continues to make plans for their mutual success on the diamond. With the help of wise and sassy Angelika, a fellow photographer, Peter confronts the evasions and equivocations he has used to avoid dealing with the difficult issues in his life. Peter's development flows naturally out of the action of the novel, and the lessons he learns seem like an integral part of the characters' interaction. The dialogue sparkles, and Peter's conversations with the randy, politically incorrect AJ are often laugh-out-loud funny. Another winner that can be confidently recommended to readers, athletes or not.—Richard Luzer, Fair Haven Union High School, VT
Kirkus Reviews
When Peter Friedman injures his arm the summer before starting high school, and the doctors tell him he will never pitch again, his life is turned upside down. Not only has Peter's pitching career gone down the tubes, his beloved grandfather is showing signs of Alzheimer's disease. Grampa, a well-known photographer, has taught Peter much of what he knows about the craft, which comes in handy when Peter takes a photography elective at school. There he meets Angelika, a girl with the most amazing pale blue eyes, and she becomes Peter's on-and-off-again girlfriend and moral compass throughout the story as he learns to handle high-school life, his disappointment over not playing ball, his grampa's decline and his first relationship with a girl. The first-person point of view works well for getting readers inside Peter's head, and his narration is poignant and frequently humorous, but the story as a whole doesn't quite cohere: Grampa's words of guidance and wisdom eventually feel didactic; it's never quite believable that it takes months for Peter to tell his best friend his arm will not heal, and he'll never play ball again; and Angelika is, oddly, too off-camera as the story ends. Still, Peter is a likable narrator for a satisfying story with heart. (Fiction. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545320702
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/25/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 40,673
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jordan Sonnenblick is the author of the acclaimed Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie; Notes from the Midnight Driver; Zen and the Art of Faking It; and the 2011 Schneider Family Book Award Winner After Ever After. He lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two children.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

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(25)

4 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 26, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Peter is a star pitcher hoping to make the JV team as a freshman

    Peter is a star pitcher hoping to make the JV team as a freshman, but all those games that he played through the pain have left his elbow in a bad state. He doesn’t know what to do with his time after the career-ending surgery other than feel sorry for himself and think about his best friend AJ making the team. When he meets Angelika in his photography class, things start looking up. Peter is familiar with cameras and photography due to watching and assisting his grandfather, a very well-known wedding photographer. Grandpa has recently started forgetting things and Angelika suggests that he may have Alzheimer’s, a disease which her grandmother had. There is no offensive language or sexual content but Peter does drink alcoholic fruit punch at a party, gets sick, and has a hangover the next day. This story has many elements which teens will relate to—sweet romance, having their dreams crushed, sadness at seeing the physical decline of a family member. Another winner by Sonnenblick.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    Amazing!!

    Well how do u no it sux if u havenr even read the book?
    I think it rox and i hav read the book

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    Best book I have read besides the bible.

    Best book I have read besides the bible.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    Great book

    Fantastic book! Jordan Sonnenblick has done it again!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2013

    Are u kidding

    Best book in the universe

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 4, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Jordon Sonnenblick writes this book perfectly. He takes Pete, a

    Jordon Sonnenblick writes this book perfectly. He takes Pete, a kid just trying to make the high school baseball team, and puts twists in the plot to leave you wanting more. I read this book and fell in love. Pete is on top of the world thinking about making the JV team, the comes crashing down when his arm blows on him. Jordan sonnenblick does it again in CURVEBALL: THE YEAR I LOST MY GRIP.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 31, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent!! My 8th graders LOVE it.

    Jordan Sonnenblick has done it again! CURVEBALL: THE YEAR I LOST MY GRIP is fantastic!

    Nightmares of his final pitch and devastating elbow injury plague Peter Friedman. His dreams of joining his friend and fellow pitcher AJ as the stars of the high school JV baseball team are gone forever, and the thought of starting high school without that dream is terrifying.

    In addition to giving up his life as a pitcher, Peter is dealing with his grandfather's confusing behavior. He fondly remembers all the time he has spent by his grandfather's side learning all about photography. As the owner and sole photographer of Goldberg Photo, Peter's grandfather has suddenly decided he's retiring and he's giving all his valuable equipment to Peter. As far as Peter's mother is concerned, the timing is perfect since she insisted that Peter sign up for the freshman class Introduction to Photography.

    Peter's teacher quickly figures out he should be across the hall in the advanced photography class. Peter suddenly finds himself in the middle of a class filled with upperclassmen. He is pleasantly surprised when the cute freshman girl he noticed in the other class is also sent over to join the advanced group. Angelika becomes not only his class partner but also his confidant through some pretty tough times.

    Author Jordan Sonnenblick takes readers into the confused teenage mind of a young man dealing with his own crumbling dreams, his first intense relationship with a girl, and the crushing reality that his grandfather is slipping into another world. Sonnenblick uses a unique combination of humor, stark reality, and compassion to create a story that will make a lasting impression on his readers.

    I am currently reading this aloud to my 8th graders, and they beg for more every time I have to stop.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2012

    Not that much

    I really think it stinks so much it smells

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I feel like the loss of Peter's pitching days wasn't enforced as

    I feel like the loss of Peter's pitching days wasn't enforced as much as it should've been, so I did not enjoy this book as much as the other novels of Jordan Sonnenblick. Otherwise, it was pretty good, but not as moving as I thought it would be.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Another hit from Sonnenblick!

    Once again, Jordan Sonnenblick approaches serious subject matter with his trademark humor and authentic characters. This is a must-read for fans of Sonnenblick's previous work.

    Curveball is all about the sudden, unexpected changes that happen in life. Starting high school is a big change for anyone, but Pete expected to be a big-time athlete and suddenly he's having to find a new identity. Grampa's sudden descent into Alzheimer's is another unexpected change in Pete's life, made even more stressful by the fact that he feels like he has to protect his grandfather and keep it a secret. The family unit that Pete should be able to steady himself against is suddenly full of pitfalls and uncertainties.

    Jordan Sonnenblick writes with authenticity and Pete's voice rang true to me. The humor in the book keeps it light, even as Pete's dealing with serious situations. The pacing is steady and kept me turning the pages, wondering how everything would work out. There's some romance as Pete delves into his first relationship with Angelika, his photography partner, but it's not overdone and the relationship develops organically throughout the book. It's always nice to see some romance from a guy's perspective because that's something guys are dealing with, too.

    This book will definitely appeal to Sonnenblick's already established audience and it's sure to garner him new fans, as well. Be sure to hand it to fans of Notes from the Midnight Driver. The story's got many of the same elements as L.K. Madigan's wonderful Flash Burnout, so I'd recommend it to fans of that book, as well. Curveball might also serve as a gateway drug of sorts for kids who will only touch sports stories.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2014

    Hey chearleader/dancer whar is your number

    Cause i am a cute country guy

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2014

    It was good in a way.

    It was good... i have to read this book for school over the su.mer and i read it in one day. I think that the way the plot was set up kinda didnt make sense but hey its just my opinion... a dumb cheerleader who was forced to read. But i think u should buy th book anyways its good to read... luv cheerleader/dancer

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2014

    Great

    This book wuz awesome. I would definitly recommed it to people who like baseball, family, and love. All I will say it that the book into a teen boy's life and problem &insurcirtie plus it's also funny!

    Great job Jordan!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014

    Great for a fun book

    Read it in no time
    Very easy read

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2013

    This author was my owl teacher at my church im friends with his daughtr

    I need to read his other books

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2013

    This book is totally awesome!

    So I use the website Goodreads to help me find new books based on what I've read before,my interests and what's popular. In need of a new book I checked for new books in my reconmondation box and Curveball appered. After reading a sample of the book and some reviews saying it was totally worth reading I knew I had to buy it. And boy were those reviews right! This book is awesome! Its fun,funny, and captivating. One mintue you could read something romantic and the next read something serious. I felt like was reading my bestfriends journal. If you want something different and awesome to read, chose this one!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2013

    LOVE!!!

    This was an amazing book!! It was written in such a great way! Diffenitly recommended!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2013

    Awesome

    The book was spectacular

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2012

    I get it.

    I play softball, first base, center field, and i catch. Im also the most important pitcher, the death pitcher. I know how it feels to pitch through pain, for i had to pitch in a playoff game after a messed up slide into home. I had landed on my right arm wrong and it hurt like heck. Our regular pitcher couldnt get this one girl out, she just kept hittin fouls, so, our coach, having no other choice, pulled me outta the catchers gear and put me on the pitchers mound. It felt like my arm was on fire, but i just tried that much harder.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2012

    GONNA BUY IT!

    GONNA B THE BEST BOK EVER

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews

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