Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip

4.6 34
by Jordan Sonnenblick

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There’s nothing All Star pitcher Peter Friedman loves more than baseball. He breathes it, dreams it, and works his tail off to be great. Most kids are nervous about starting high school, but when you’re the star athlete, girls, popularity, and all-around stud status are sure to follow.
Then a pitching accident over the summer ruins…  See more details below


There’s nothing All Star pitcher Peter Friedman loves more than baseball. He breathes it, dreams it, and works his tail off to be great. Most kids are nervous about starting high school, but when you’re the star athlete, girls, popularity, and all-around stud status are sure to follow.
Then a pitching accident over the summer ruins Pete’s arm. If he can’t play baseball in high school, what is he supposed to do? If he isn’t the star pitcher, then who is he? To make matters more complicated, there’s something going on with Pete’s grampa -- he’s acting weird and keeps forgetting important things.
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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie :
"A brave book . . . Jordan Sonnenblick carries it off with such charm and elan, you forget for a moment your heart is breaking." --Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes

• "Sonnenblick shows that even in the midst of tragedy, life goes on, love can flower, and the one thing you can always change is yourself." --Booklist, starred review
"The reader falls in love with the brothers, laughing and crying by turns and rooting for both of them until it almost hurts." --Kirkus Reviews
Praise for After Ever After :

• “As hilarious as it is tragic, and as honest as it is hopeful, don’t confuse this book with inspirational reading. It’s irresistible reading.” --Booklist, starred review

• “Sonnenblick’s intimate first-person tale of survival . . . will leave an emotional, uplifting imprint.” --School Library Journal, starred review
“Jordan Sonnenblick continues Jeffrey’s story in his signature style using an authentic teenage voice and laugh-out-loud humor.”
Praise for Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip:
“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
Praise for Notes from the Midnight Driver:

• “[A] funny, bittersweet tour de force.” --Booklist, starred review

• “Readers [will be] nodding with recognition, sighing in sympathy, and gasping with laughter--often on the same page.” --The Horn Book, starred review

• “Sonnenblick revisits several key themes from his debut novel, Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie, to even greater effect here.” --Publishers Weekly, starred review
Praise for Zen and the Art of Faking It:

• “Wildly funny.” -- Kliatt, starred review
“This light-hearted situation comedy is peppered with genuine Zen insight.” --Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Hilarious and heart-wrenching.” --Kirkus Reviews
“The writing is fresh, the characters appealing, and it looks like the author has another hit.” --Oakland Tribune

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

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book I have read besides the bible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic book! Jordan Sonnenblick has done it again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book about a young man, Peter, trying to figure out his life after an injury ruins his career. Then, Peter finds love amd that steers him in a different direction. I loved tjis book and i hope you do to. H
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book in the universe
beefyj10 More than 1 year ago
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.
Readingjunky More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it in no time Very easy read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I need to read his other books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an amazing book!! It was written in such a great way! Diffenitly recommended!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was spectacular
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abbylibrarian More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book so far!