The Second Base Club

The Second Base Club

5.0 1
by Greg Trine

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Elroy's got one thing on his mind: girls. In an effort to get to second base, he offers to tutor the hot new girl in math, forms a band with his two best friend (okay, so he gets a face full of tomato for his efforts) and joins the wrestling team.

He's a little vague on the whole bases thing, but the jocks have a club dedicated to getting there with every


Elroy's got one thing on his mind: girls. In an effort to get to second base, he offers to tutor the hot new girl in math, forms a band with his two best friend (okay, so he gets a face full of tomato for his efforts) and joins the wrestling team.

He's a little vague on the whole bases thing, but the jocks have a club dedicated to getting there with every girl they can. And now that he's a jock (sort of), maybe Elroy will find out for himself what it means to be a member of the Second Base Club.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Smart-alecky yet sensitive sophomore Elroy is desperate to snag his first girlfriend--ideally, gorgeous Marisa from his geometry class (who's an 8.65 out of 10 as far as he's concerned). When Marisa gives him the dreaded "I just want to be friends" line, Elroy redoubles his efforts to impress girls, joining the wrestling team and starting a rock band. He also stumbles on the Second Base Club, a group of popular guys who keep score of their conquests, and is both intrigued and disgusted. Luckily for Elroy, Juana Maria, a cute co-worker, helps him see that being himself is easier than trying to be someone else to get a girl. The story has an episodic feel, and Elroy's thoughts can be overly self-aware ("True I was hanging out with the head in-crowder, but I'd hurt two people to get there.... Two very good friends"), as though Trine (the Melvin Beederman, Superhero series) doesn't trust readers to reach their own conclusions. But fans of recent bawdy coming-of-age stories by Don Calame and Brent Crawford should enjoy this journey to self-discovery and maybe even a girlfriend. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

“Full of gauche guy humor. . . . Warm and winning.” —Kirkus Reviews
VOYA - Alicia Abdul
Elroy needs to do something fast: about his separated parents, his living situation, his nonexistent girlfriend, and his exclusion from the second base club. And yes, it is exactly what it sounds like: a secret all-boy club of jocks who keep a running score of the "bases" they round with girls they date. But when head jock, Sampson Teague, ends up with the girl Elroy was hitting on, Elroy realizes he must join a sport to compete. With the help of friends, Vern and Tuck, Elroy becomes a wrestler. As the season progresses, Elroy is successful in getting closer to Sampson and his crew, his separated parents are talking again, and he's gaining confidence with girls. When it becomes criminal during a night partying with Sampson and company, Elroy begins to understand that the club is little more than taking advantage of girls using alcohol and drugs. Happily, Elroy learns that he's the real winner by unraveling their sordid plans, even though it lands him in the hospital; it also gets him the girl. The humorous escapades on which the boys find themselves, including the Night of Gas, cruising in Vern's 1961 Volkswagen Beetle, and starting a band, all create a youthful balance between recklessness and ambition that is refreshing. Absent are the bawdy jokes and cliched coming-of-age experiences that could be used to build Elroy's character; instead, Elroy's journey is authentic. The well-orchestrated integration of adversities and relaxed reading style is worth purchasing for middle and junior high libraries. Reviewer: Alicia Abdul
Children's Literature - Amanda MacGregor
About to enter tenth grade, best friends Vern and Elroy are desperate to have girlfriends. Elroy makes a move on Marissa, a cute girl he has been hanging out with, but she tells him she does not like him that way. Stinging from the rejection, Elroy joins the wrestling team, because it seems like all the jocks have no trouble getting girlfriends, and learns of The Second Base Club, a contest some of the popular guys are running to see who can rack up the most points scoring with girls. When the wrestling falls through, Elroy and his friends start a band in hopes of catching girls' attention. It is only after Elroy starts to hang out with the most popular guy in school that he finally feels hopeful that he will get a girlfriend, but is shocked to realize how these jocks are actually scoring with so many girls. While it is great to have a realistic novel about boys from a boy's point of view, the plot feels somehow dated and just too tame. The characters are bland and forgettable. Elroy's all-consuming quest to get a girl to make out with him grows tiresome quickly. In addition, it is offensive and one account verges on sexual assault. The novel's ending is jarring and out of sync with the rest of the story, too. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
School Library Journal
Gr 9–11—Tenth-grader Elroy has a goal for the coming school year: to score. He wants a girlfriend, and he has very little idea of how to go about getting one. He tutors the Hot Girl in math and they share a couple of kisses on her porch swing, but the next day she confesses that she's not interested in him "in that way." With his own charms coming up short, Elroy joins the wrestling team (because athletes get girls), and when that doesn't pan out, he and his friends form a band (because girls also dig guys in bands). His friend sets him up on a blind date and implies that she's easy; when Elroy tears into her sweater after she's twice said no, he earns a punch in the face. He apologizes for being a jerk and the incident is dropped, dismissing his sexual assault as a "boys will be boys" learning experience. Later, at a party, he intercepts a female friend whom the popular jocks have slipped roofies and receives a beating for his efforts, but still fails to notice the parallels between the jocks' behavior and his own. Other plot elements, such as Elroy's new and changing friendships and his relationships with his divorced parents, could be a strong story on their own but are overshadowed by his all-consuming drive to touch a girl. Attempts at "guy humor"—insults and fart jokes—fall flat. Brent Crawford's Carter Finally Gets It (Hyperion, 2009) or Don Calame's Swim the Fly (Candlewick, 2009) are better executions of similar themes.—Brandy Danner, Wilmington Memorial Library, MA
Kirkus Reviews

Full of gauche guy humor, this coming-of-age tale about a 16-year-old boy's attempts to get to second base (with a girl) takes a while to get going, but once all the plot elements come together, it becomes warm and winning. Elroy isn't exactly sure what second base is, but he knows that he wants to get there. In his quest to answer that ancient question--what do girls want?--Elroy tries wrestling, creating a band and (gasp!) talking to them. Although his efforts have a tendency to misfire, his hard work pays off in other ways, causing him to grow and develop both physically and emotionally. So when his mettle is tested--a group of jocks actually have a second-base club that involves an unsavory secret--Elroy is ready. It's hard to buy that the news of the club hasn't leaked, and the ending feels a tad rushed, but by then the reader is so squarely in Elroy's corner that it really doesn't matter. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date:
Sold by:
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

I know it’s not polite to stare at a girl’s chest, but she was wearing one of those tops that said “Hey, stare at my chest, and do it now!” So I did. After all, I’d been given an order—a nonverbal one, but, still, an order was an order.
After she passed by, I wrote something down, then turned to my good friend Vern Zuckman. We had just gotten off work at Perry’s Pretzels and were now sitting on a bench at the far end of the food court at the mall, trying to make the last day of summer last.
“I gave her an 8.65,” I told him. “I had her in the mid-nines until I saw her face.”
Vern snorted. “You’re crazy, Elroy. She was a 9.8 easy. Didn’t you see—” He stopped and looked at me. “Wait, you looked at her face?”
That was the difference between Vern and me. I saw the whole package. He only saw parts. Two in particular.
“I want one,” he said.
“Sorry, pal. They come in pairs.”
“I mean I want a girlfriend.”
That made two of us.
It’s not like I was completely without experience. Over the summer I’d made out with Jenny Brockmire three times. Twice for about thirty seconds, but one kiss lasted more than four minutes. She broke up with me when she realized I was timing her. She opened her eyes and saw me staring at the clock on the wall above the deep-fryer.
“Four minutes and twenty-one seconds,” I told her.
She was not at all amused.
It was a little tense after that, and I ended up quitting Denise’s Donuts and moving down to the far end of the food court, on the other side of Mario’s Pizza-by-the-Slice, to Perry’s. As far as I knew, Vern hadn’t had any makeout experiences, but we were both of the same mind as far as girls were concerned. Tenth grade was about to begin. We’d be driving before the year was out. Something told me there was romance in our futures. It was time to get serious.
I pulled off my clip-on bow tie, the required uniform at Perry’s, and shoved it in my shirt pocket along with the little note-pad where I’d scribbled the 8.65. Turns out she was the highlight of the day. The three previous girls were in the mid-sixes—mid-sevens for Vern. But, like I said, he didn’t rate the whole package.
“Let’s get out of here,” I said.
Vern stood up and looked around, his tie and notebook already stowed. “Yeah, it’s thinning out. See you tomorrow, Elroy.”
“First day of school. Woo-hoo.” I slapped him a high-five.
We went outside and got on our bikes and headed out. Vern waved at the corner, and I took off down Casitas Pass. I lived with my mother at the end of the road in a thirty-two-foot Airstream set in among the oaks. It wasn’t part of a trailer park, just a lone trailer back in the canyon. So I lived in a trailer, not in a trailer park. I liked the distinction, for some reason.
It was a place some mountain man might call home, and I didn’t feel I needed to hang my head about it. I saw deer and coyotes right outside the window on a daily basis. You don’t get that in a trailer park.
I coasted off the pavement onto the dirt lot in front of the Airstream and brought the kickstand down as the bike came to a stop. Then I went inside. Mom was lying there in the living room, which was also my bedroom, with her legs flat against the floor and her arms pushing her torso up.
“No offense, Mom, but that’s the worst push-up I’ve ever seen,” I told her.
“It’s yoga, dear.”
Then she put her butt up in the air, with her hands and feet on the floor.
“Okay, that’s the worst push-up I’ve ever seen.”
“It’s. Yoga. Dear.”
Yoga or not, it was still a pretty rotten push-up, but I kept my mouth shut about it.
I wasn’t at all nervous about tenth grade. I’d survived my freshman year mainly by sticking with large groups of other kids—safety-in-numbers kind of thing. Sure, some of the ninth-graders got beat up or had their heads flushed in the boys’ bathrooms, but I was left alone through sheer luck. Like when there’s a shipwreck and the sharks pick off the survivors on the fringe. I just never put myself on the fringe, and it worked. They never got to me.
And now, as a tenth-grader, I no longer had to worry about being the youngest and scrawniest. There was easier prey.
On the first day of school, I woke up early when my mom turned on the water in the shower. I lay there on the couch in the living/dining room and stared at the ceiling for a while before I got up and threw on some clothes. Actually, I didn’t just throw them on. It was a carefully selected wardrobe. Jeans, white T-shirt, sneakers. Simple, but carefully selected. And I hoped some girl, in the mid-sevens or better, noticed.
When Mom wandered in wearing her Grinch bathrobe, I was already halfway through a piece of toast, and equally far into the morning paper.
“I made coffee,” I said, pointing with a jagged piece of rye.
“Thanks.” She poured a cup and joined me at the table.
“Remember, you’ll be with your father this weekend,” she said as she grabbed the funnies. “Let me know if he’s working a real job.”
I nodded. “Real job” to my mother meant working for someone else. It also meant getting a regular paycheck. My parents separated over this very issue. Mom said Dad had chronic entrepreneurism, meaning he had the heart to be self-employed, just not the brain. His latest business venture had failed, just like the previous three.
Which is why we eventually lost the house.
Which is why my parents aren’t together.
Which is why I live at the end of Casitas Pass, along with a bunch of deer … and a few coyotes.
But they had been separated for a year, and neither of them had said anything about making it permanent. I took this as a good sign. Things could change for the better. There was hope.
I finished my toast and looked up at my mom. She was the kind of lady who looked great even before she put herself together completely. And that’s saying something, since I’m her kid talking.
“You working today?” I asked her.
She worked at a spain Ojai, doing massage mostly. She also taught yoga—she can touch her toes and everything—and ran the front desk when they were in a pinch. She hadn’t dated anyone since she and my dad split. I wasn’t sure why. She had a look that I imagined most men would go for. Vern once rated her in the nines. I punched him for that comment. You don’t rate your best friend’s mom.
Then again, maybe she didn’t date because of Dad. Another good sign.
“Gotta keep this palatial estate running.” She stood up and poured herself a second cup. “Don’t be late for school.”
“Can I ask you something, Mom?”
“Of course.”
I got to my feet and turned slowly, letting her see my carefully selected outfit. “Do you think I have some lady-killer in me?”
“I’d say you’re loaded with it.”
“Or at least full of it?”
“Maybe. But in a good way.”
I took off on my bike down Casitas Pass, leaving behind the orange groves and avocado trees. Once near the Highmont Ridge Mall, I kept an eye peeled for Vern. We had an understanding that we’d hook up at around the same time and place each morning and ride in together. He’d had his head flushed a few times as a freshman before I filled him in on my theory about keeping away from the fringe. Ever since then, he’d stuck to me like glue.
I glanced up and down the street, searching for him. He wasn’t around, and after a while I continued on alone. I was at the rack locking my bike when he showed up.
“Why didn’t you wait for me?” he asked, out of breath.
“You snooze, you lose.”
“Needed a little extra beauty sleep, is all. That girl we saw at the mall yesterday might go to school here. I have to be prepared.”
“She ignored us yesterday. It probably won’t be much different today. We’re sophomores, Vern, second to the bottom of the totem pole. Girls like that go for the varsity quarterback type.” I was no quarterback, but I’d been told by a certain female that very morning that I had a fair amount of lady-killer in me. Of course, the female in question also happened to be my mother, but you have to trust your parents’ opinions. It goes along with respecting your elders.
Vern locked his bike, and we headed to class. I didn’t see him again until first break. We sat on one of the concrete planters in the quad, where we spent most of the previous year, far away from the fringe.
“I saw her,” Vern said.
“The 9.8 from the mall.”
“Don’t you mean the 8.65?”
“Okay, I’ll give you that. I looked at her face this time.”
“You’re learning,” I said. “So what’s her name?”
“Can’t remember. I was too dazzled to think straight.”
I told him that his mission, should he choose to accept it, was to find out her name and report back. He said he would, but as it turned out, Miss 8.65, whom I may have underrated, parked herself across the aisle from me in fourth-period geometry. I tried not to stare. It wasn’t easy.
She caught me looking a few times, but at least I was looking at her face, not anywhere else. I think she appreciated it, because she smiled, which elevated her cuteness status even more.
The next day, Vern, who chose to accept his mission, reported that her name was Marisa Caldwell. Of course, I already knew this. Don’t get me wrong, I was dazzled too. But I paid attention when Mrs. Dumar took roll.
Marisa. I wrote her name down on the inside cover of my geometry book, then in half a dozen places during fifth and six periods that first day, so I wouldn’t forget. There wasn’t much chance I would, but I wanted to be sure. I don’t remember much about what went on in fifth and sixth periods. Did I have homework from those classes? If I did, the assignment was in one ear, out the other, and slowly making its way into outer space. Vern had said it best: dazzled.
I spent the week trying to work up the courage to talk to Marisa. So far, I could only stare. But at least I didn’t stare at her chest—not when she would notice, anyway. I’d been a teenager for a few years now—I had highly developed check-out skills.
On Friday, I headed over to my dad’s studio apartment, where I’d be for the weekend. He met me at the door and extended his hand. “Hey, Elroy.” He’d been doing the handshake thing ever since I hit thirteen, thinking I was too mature to be hugged. This is just a theory, but do you ever outgrow the need for hugging? I’m not sure that you do.
I put on my grown-up face, though, and gave his hand a manly squeeze. “Hey.”
Dad named me after a character from some ancient sixties cartoon called The Jetsons. Father George, daughter Judy, Jane his wife, and his boy Elroy. I’m not sure how I feel about being named after a cartoon character.
But, getting back to Dad’s apartment…. Like I said, it was a studio, everything in one room. He slept on a fold-out couch, which was in couch mode now, facing an enormous television, one of his first purchases after the split with Mom.
“How does pancakes for dinner sound?” he asked, opening the fridge.
Breakfast was my favorite meal. Pancakes for the next seven meals sounded good to me. While Dad mixed up the batter, I walked over and checked out his whiteboard, where he usually jotted down his latest business schemes. When I wanted to find out what was going on in my dad’s head, I just read his white-board. It was pretty telling, usually.
But this time there were no business plans. No entrepreneurial schemes, half cocked or otherwise. The whiteboard simply had three items listed.
Get a haircut
Get in shape
Earn her respect
Dad saw me looking at it and erased it, then went back to his pancake batter and called over his shoulder. “So how’s your mother doing?”
“Fine,” I said.
Dad looked at me like he wanted some elaboration on the subject, so I added, “She’s not dating anyone. That’s a good sign.”
“That is a good sign.” He paused, then said, “Does she ever talk about me?” He waved the question away with a spatula. “Don’t answer that. Let’s eat.”
A few minutes later, he flipped the pancakes onto plates and we sat down at the table. “Who says bachelors don’t eat good.”
Halfway through my second pancake, I put my fork down and looked across the table at my father. He used to box when he was in college and his nose was still slightly off kilter. He also had an old scar slicing through one eyebrow. But other than those few battle wounds, he was in pretty good shape for a guy in his forties. “You know, Dad, Mom doesn’t want much. Just a normal life. A husband who works a normal job, gets paid what-ever, and comes home.”
He nodded. “I’m working on that. How is she?”
“You asked that already.” I could tell he didn’t want to discuss his past failures, so I let it go. “She says I have some lady-killer in me.”
“That reminds me, Elroy. Did we ever discuss the birds and the bees?”
“I don’t think so,” I said. “What would you like to know?”
The birds and the bees was currently my favorite subject. All through dinner and later, as Dad laid out the Scrabble game, I couldn’t stop thinking of Marisa Caldwell. Finally, I had to ask the question that had been banging around in my head since I first laid eyes on her. “Do you believe in love at first sight, Dad?”
Dad was arranging his letters and looked up. “Is that a hypothetical question?”
“Kind of.” I mean, I did have a girl in mind, and I did feel something at first sight. Maybe it was just good ol’ American horniness. Still, I was curious. Did love at first sight exist? Or did it just make for good storytelling?
“I believe in attraction at first sight.” He laid down his letters, spelling group on a double-word score. “Attraction at first sight happens all the time, which can grow into love. Generally,it’s not love unless you know the person. That’s the short answer, Elroy.”
Excerpted from The Second Base Club by Greg Trine.
Copyright © 2010 by Greg Trine.
Published in 2010 by Henry Holt And Company New York.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Meet the Author

Greg Trine is the author of the Melvin Beederman, Superhero books, which he creates with his illustrator sidekick, Rhode Montijo. He lives with his family in Southern California.

Greg Trine is the author of the Melvin Beederman, Superhero books, which he creates with his illustrator sidekick, Rhode Montijo. He is also the author of the young adult book, The Second Base Club. He lives with his family in his Southern California hideout.

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