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Publishers WeeklyCochrane (Sport) revisits the baseball diamond in this unhurried novel about a girl with a mean knuckleball ("Molly loved watching one of her knuckleballs in flight, but what she felt was not self-admiration at all, just simple curiosity. What was this one going to do?"). Dealing with her father's death in a car accident six months prior and her mother's subsequent zombie-like disinterest in life, Molly hopes that playing on the eighth-grade boys' baseball team will keep her connected to her dad. Molly is bolstered by her free-spirited friend, Celia (who steals every scene she's in), and Lonnie, a kindhearted, artistically inclined catcher. Cochrane offers poignant flashbacks of father-daughter bonding, realistic mother-daughter squabbling and some nail-biting moments on the pitcher's mound, but some readers may find the story's pace sluggish. Still, Cochrane's honest, quiet prose should find fans, as Molly finally pitches a winning game, earns the respect of her teammates and symbolically "lets go" of her need to understand her dad's death. Ages 10-up.
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