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Coy (Box Out) brings his successful combination of relatable characters and sports action to his middle-grade debut. Jackson Kennedy, the affable fifth-grade narrator, lives for baseball. Playing shortstop for his school team helps take the sting off his troubles at home and school: divorced parents, a newly dating mom and middle-school worries about eighth-graders who "make you drink a Coke so fast, you hurl in the garbage can." Jackson and his team have high hopes for the coming season until Sydney-his best friend Gig's sister-shows up to play second base (with her pink glove, no less). Jackson mentally wrestles with this as most boys his age would: she's a good player and the team needs her, but she's still a girl. Coy does a good job keeping his story grounded in the concerns that kids this age would have, and his characters-such as Gig, the goofball whose dad is about to be shipped to Afghanistan, and G-Man, Jackson's baseball-loving grandpa-are appealing and true to life. Young baseball fans will enjoy the infield banter, Gig's corn-dogs-up-the-nose antics and the grand slam ending. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.