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VOYAThirteen-year-old Franny Cullers's fantasy baseball team, the Cullers Classic All Stars, includes baseball's best players ever-Mantle, Robinson, Gehrig-but even these superstars could not help her. Her mother died last year, she and her father live with Aunt Beth, and her father is depressed. Formerly her little league coach, he now shows little interest. And Franny's little league teammates hate girls. Despite her being the best player, they do not want her. When Coach Foster teaches them how to be hit by a pitch, he makes an example of Fran by throwing pitch after rapid-fire pitch at her. She hits every one but the next day has "the flinches" whenever her best friend, Steve, pitches to her, so she quits the team. Her plan to be the first female professional baseball player is falling apart. When her teammates, minus fired Coach Foster, ask her help in defeating the feared Foursquare Flyers, Fran hesitates. And who will coach the team? Predictable? Definitely. Easy reading? Absolutely. Add "The Three Most Popular Girls in Junior High" (cheerleaders) and an eye-catching cover and the result is a perfect middle school late-summer beach read. A nice little book, it presents a girl excelling in a "man's" sport. One likes Fran and Steve and dislikes her narrow-minded teammates. But the reader knows that they will come around, dad will wake up, and all will be right with the world. This one might be the book to get reluctant readers reading. Definitely pitch it to them (no pun intended). Middle school and public libraries should own and display this book. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8).2005, Henry Holt, 160p., Ages 11 to 14.