Throwing Like a Girl

Throwing Like a Girl

4.5 8
by Weezie Kerr Mackey, Angela Dawe

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A high school girl's life is transformed when she joins a softball team. Value of being a team member reinforced as well as teaching girls to have faith in themselves & reach for that goal.


A high school girl's life is transformed when she joins a softball team. Value of being a team member reinforced as well as teaching girls to have faith in themselves & reach for that goal.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Mackey deftly throws out a winning tale narrated by a teen who moves with her parents from Chicago to Dallas in the spring of her 10th-grade year. In forthright, often funny first-person narration, Ella shares her apprehension about leaving her friends behind and starting at a new school that seems so different from her old. Her P.E. teacher suggests she join the softball team, which she agrees to, despite the fact that she's never played before ("I haven't played since I was a kid, but I'm pretty sure I can catch and hit. Throwing might be a problem"). The narrative credibly follows Ella's learning curve: though her on-field skills improve quickly, Ella is less successful at dealing with Sally, a popular, haughty teammate who comes from a troubled home. Meanwhile, a marriage project in Behavioral Science class pairs Ella with Sally's cute, kind brother, and she develops a crush on him. In a heartwarming subplot, Ella is befriended by a sympathetic softball star who had to quit the team to take care of her younger siblings after their mother died. Also affecting is Ella's very real rapport with her mother, whose understanding nature and perceptiveness the teen appreciates but won't acknowledge ("I can see her point. But I don't say so"). Triumphs both on the field and off bring this engaging novel to a satisfying finale. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Sherrie Williams
Fifteen-year-old Ella fears that her plans for her high school years are going wildly off track when her parents uproot her from a comfortable life in Chicago to move to Dallas. Uneasy in Dallas and missing her friends and social routine back home, Ella tries out for the school softball team. To her surprise, the school is so small that every girl who tries out makes the team. Through softball, she makes new friends and enemies and learns that she can bring about change in her life rather than simply let events happen to her. Empowered by her growing skills in softball as well as by directing the path of her own life, Ella learns that "throwing like a girl" can be a very positive thing. Female readers, particularly those involved in sports, will find a lot to like in this debut novel-competition, romance, and social struggles all factor strongly here. The message of personal empowerment and self-reliance for teen girls is not heavy handed, but it is effective and memorable. The softball scenes making up much of the book are authentic and made this reviewer long to put on a softball mitt again. Several subplots blend seamlessly and engage the reader to consider issues facing many teens, such as alcoholism, the death of a parent, verbal bullying, and gender inequity in scholastic sports. This book would make a solid addition to a fiction collection serving readers in grades seven and up.
Children's Literature - Kathryn Erskine
When fifteen-year-old Ella is dragged to Texas by her parents, she dreads what she will find. She feels at loose ends in her new town, new home, and new school. For lack of any other social avenue, she surprises even herself by trying out for her school's softball team. There she finds immediate friends, but also an enemy in the form of the possessive sister of a boy who pursues Ella. Full of the usual awkwardness of adolescence, Ella is also dealing with being the youngest, and now only, child left at home. Her position at school, on the team, and in the family feel fragile and amorphous. One girl, appropriately named Rocky, is solid in who she is, and solid as a friend to Ella, in spite of having to deal with far more difficult circumstances than Ella. When Ella is able to help Rocky, she grows as a person and is able to master her own traumas. A strong voice and engaging characters make this an enjoyable read.
School Library Journal

Gr 5-9 - When Ella and her parents move from Chicago to Dallas in March, she resigns herself to finishing her sophomore year without friends. Her first-person narration of week one at Spring Valley Day School realistically portrays the insecurities of being the outsider amid well-established cliques. Things fall quickly into place for Ella, though: she gets matched up with Nate, a popular senior, for a marriage project in her Behavioral Science class, and although she has never played team sports, the coach recognizes her natural athletic ability and encourages her to try out for softball. The plot is predictable: underdog team starts out slow but comes together through perseverance and hard work to shine by season's end. While Nate is everything a girl could hope for, his younger sister Sally (also a softball player) takes an instant dislike to Ella and tries to sabotage the budding relationship, adding a bit of tension. The story is formulaic and most of the characters remain two-dimensional, but the action moves along at a brisk pace. Mackey's love of the game clearly comes through and the themes of friendship and sportsmanship are strong. This is feel-good chick lit that will appeal to reluctant readers and sports fans.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
When 15-year-old Ella Kessler moves with her parents from Chicago to Dallas, she's less than thrilled. Making her new school's softball team-even though she barely knows how to play-turns out to help Ella begin to navigate her way through the challenges of her new life-including making friends; falling for the cute, nice-guy brother of a nasty teammate; and discovering that when her playing skills vastly improve, athletic prowess is her key to increased self-understanding and self-esteem and the joy of finding her niche in the world. Here's an undemanding and pleasant-if pat-read that teen girls, sports-minded or not, will appreciate. While predictable, it demonstrates that "throwing like a girl" can mean feeling like a winner, and not just on the ball field. (Fiction. 12-14)
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 6–10—Ella dreaded her family's move from Chicago to Dallas halfway through her sophomore year in high school. At her fancy new private school, she seems to be the only one being driven there by her mother. If only she had her license. However, things start to change when she tries out for softball, for which she surprisingly has a talent. There is also Nate, the boy she's partnered with for the schools infamous "Marriage Project, and her new friend Rocky, who has a mysterious and troubled past. Ella tries to fit all the pieces of her new life together, but there may be some things she just can't fix. Angela Dawe does a fine job at bringing Ella's inner and outer voices to life as she deals with the angst of being a teenager and pressures both on and off the field. The supporting characters are lively as well, but Nate's narration is a little one-note at times. Fans of Ann Brashares and Sarah Dessen will enjoy Macken's (Amazon Children's Pub., 2007) light, fun sports-mance.—Michaela Schied, Indian River Middle School, Philadelphia, NY

Product Details

Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 5.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Meet the Author

Weezie Kerr Mackey grew up in a suburb of Chicago, where she began her sports career. Later, while studying English literature at Trinity College in Connecticut, she continued her athletics, playing field hockey, squash, and softball. After college, she took a job teaching P. E. and coaching girls’ field hockey, soccer, and softball at the Greenhill School in Dallas, which became the inspiration for Ella’s story in Throwing Like a Girl, her first novel. Equipped with an MFA in creative writing, she now writes, works, and lives in Fairfield, Connecticut, with her husband and their two sons.

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Throwing Like a Girl 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Throwing Like A Girl by Weezie Kerr Mackey is about a 15 year old girl who¿s parents make her move from her hometown in the heart of Chicago to the suburbs of Fort Worth, Texas during the spring of her sophomore year. Although she has never played softball she decides to tryout for the team in hopes to meet new people. Throughout the book she follows her instinct and helps her new friends and in the process falls for her cute partner in Behavioral Science class. Ella Kessler is the protagonist in the story. Although her parents just made her move she is optimistic about life in Texas. Throughout the novel she is helping other people and always puts her best foot forward. Rocky O¿Hara is responsible for taking care of her entire family even though she is only senior. Her mother¿s death and responsibilities at home required her to quit softball years before, but with Ella¿s help and determination she is able to rejoin the softball team mid-season. Nate Fontineau is Ella¿s partner in class. At first glance he appeared to be just another jock but he really is a down to earth guy who is even in the school play. As the story progresses Nate and Ella¿s friendship grows and they end up going to prom together. ¿As we run off the field howling and cheering, we toss our gloves into a pile, trade caps for batting helmets, and slap each other on the backs. `You can do it,¿ Coach keeps saying. `Base hits. Base hits. One more inning. This is your¿¿ And then she stops talking. Frannie says, `You swallow a sunflower shell, Coach?¿ But she still doesn¿t say anything. Past the stands a group of families has gathered to cheer for us. My first thought is that they¿re at the wrong field, because I don¿t recognize them. I don¿t think anyone does, until the men put on their bright yellow hard hats. And Mack Elliot steps out from behind them.¿ The softball field at the school is at the edge of the campus right next to a construction site. Debris from the building usually litters the field until one day Coach goes to talk to the supervisor, Mack Elliot, about the problem. To make up for the trouble they had caused Elliot sends flowers to Coach and takes her to dinner. Every day during practice the workers sit on top of the building and watch. It¿s like they are the personal fan club for the team. Showing up at the State Championship like they did showed how much support the team had from the community. In the softball game just before prom Ella gets hit with the ball and gets a fat lip. I thought it was great that she didn¿t make a big deal over it and just let it go. Her date just said, ¿You look really beautiful either way,¿ showing that in life people won¿t care that much. I also thought it was unusual that they had peacocks roaming around the school campus. In the book there are all different characters all with different personalities. Just like in life Ella must overcome the difference and learn to live with it. Even though there are some girls she doesn¿t like, she is cordial and just sticks with her group of friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gave this to my niece as Christmas gift and she finished it 4 days later. She loved it and even said she wished it was a series. Any book that leaves a kid wanting to read more is a winner!
Immortal-princess More than 1 year ago
this book was really good it has alot og hight school drama,like falling in love with a boy,a mean girl alot more. Ella really kinda growns in this book. so read this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book very interesting and an enjoyment to read. It shows teenager that it is not the end of the world if one little thing changes in your life, and it shows that you can find some the greatest thing in life in place you may never of imagined. No one asks Ella how she feels about moving halfway across the country in the middle of her sophomore year. But she ends up in Texas anyway, without plans for the weekend or friends to guide her through the campus of her new private school. So she decides to try out for the softball team, and she makes it! Now if only she knew how to throw, hit, and field the ball. Not to mention he partner for her life science class is the hottest guy in the school and everything is going well, and she thinks this guy may actually likes. Then, his bratty little sister, who is also on the team, messes up everything. I believe this book is very well written with a lot detailed descriptions, which helped me visualize what Ella is going through. The only thing that I didn't enjoy so much was how it skipped around so much; it was a little complicated to keep up with. This book kept my attention the entire time, there wasn't a single dull moment, and I absolutely loved it. This is defiantly a book teenagers can relate too. If you enjoy books about real life experiences that teenagers face, then I suggest that you go out and get this book right away.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book from a friend who knows the other. although im opinionated and dislike dallas( being a houstonian). this book is very lovable, especially if you like softball! the schools are in fact real in the book ( go sjs!!!! and im not such a big fan of kinkaid) and this makes it feel like a real story. but also it is your typical girl gets boy (just their's a twist with the softball)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! It is about a 15 year old girl (Ella) who moves to a small town in Texas, she is put into a science class, where of course the hottest,most popular, and nicest guy is. They start a Marriage project and she gets assigned with him. But its not just about that, its where Ella has never really played any sports and she finds that when she tries out for softball she is good and loves it! Her year has its ups and downs, but she finds a way through the problems and never gives up in softball. I highly recommend this book for middle schoolers, it is an easy read but really keeps you turning the pages!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Despite a recent move to a new home town, a run in with a not so nice girl clique, and a potential new crush, Ella shows us all how to not only conquer our insecurities and fears, but soar in spite of them. Added to the fun is the delighful, fast paced writing, and the carefully crafted tension between Ella and Nate, which runs nicely alongside the nailbiting questions, will Ella's team win the softball championship, overcome the mean girls and get the boyfriend.