Under the Baseball Moon

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Overview

Andy Ramos, a free-style skateboarding trumpeter, has dreams as big as a baseball moon. Born into a family of musicians, Andy wants to take his unique fusion of Latin jazz, rock, and hip-hop straight to the top. But when he crosses paths with Glory Martinez, a softball pitcher who has Olympian dreams of her own, the mysterious fusion of their athletic and musical skills changes everything. Or is that due to the elegant, but eerie man in black?

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Overview

Andy Ramos, a free-style skateboarding trumpeter, has dreams as big as a baseball moon. Born into a family of musicians, Andy wants to take his unique fusion of Latin jazz, rock, and hip-hop straight to the top. But when he crosses paths with Glory Martinez, a softball pitcher who has Olympian dreams of her own, the mysterious fusion of their athletic and musical skills changes everything. Or is that due to the elegant, but eerie man in black?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The lyrical title of Ritter's latest may mislead fans of his terrific previous book, The Boy Who Saved Baseball. The subject here is actually music, and the hero is a 16-year-old skateboarding trumpeter named Andy Ramos, who's in love with a softball pitcher. What this work shares with Boy is a realistic setting infused with fable. This time Ritter riffs on a legend about a blues musician who sold his soul to the devil in exchange for stardom. Becoming a world-class trumpeter is just what Andy has in mind as he begins the summer, intent on devoting each day to the launch of his musical career. Then Glory Martinez, his childhood nemesis, returns to Ocean Beach, now a gorgeous teen with a wicked curveball and outsize dreams of her own. The two quickly discover that each brings out the best in the other's performance, which becomes problematic when various concert dates conflict with tournament schedules. An eerie stranger in black also appears who knows a great deal about Andy's dreams, talks in riddles and makes promises too good for Andy to pass up. Ritter's dialogue crackles with the rhythms of the funky California setting, and Andy's passion and ambition give the novel its heartbeat. "A song's journey," he learns, "is not complete until it reaches an audience," and while this solid performance probably won't appeal to the readers who loved Boy, it ought to introduce Ritter to a new crowd: music lovers and romantics. Ages 11-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Ritter returns with another great baseball fable, this time adding the elements of jazz music and a little more romance. Just as in The Boy Who Saved Baseball (Philomel, 2003/VOYA August 2003), however, there is still a little bit of possible magic and some very quirky and entertaining characters, including a protagonist on a mission, Andy Ramos. According to Andy's heartthrob, Glory Martinez, when the moon looms large during a daytime baseball game, it is what fans call "a baseball moon." Andy comes from a musical tradition that includes his father, who operates a recording studio, and his grandfather, who was something of a trumpet legend. Even after death, Grandpa Ramos's influence is still very much with Andy, in his heart and in his music, a sort of jazz, Latin, pop fusion. Just as Andy and his friends, Tran and Lil Lobo, hope for the success of their garage band, Glory also dreams of being a big softball star. After leaving Ocean Beach, California, for her grandparents' childhood home in Arizona, Glory returns for their sophomore year of school. She and Andy discover that his trumpet seems to infuse her softball playing with magical power. A few musical "improves" on Andy's trumpet, and Glory's pitching and hitting improve "two hundred percent better," according to her best friend, Kayla. Together, the two will do amazing things. Ritter weaves his usual magic and creates an even better novel-a little more literarily complex, just as magical, and even funnier than his earlier works. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, definedas grades 10 to 12). 2006, Philomel, 304p., Ages 11 to 18.
—James Blasingame
Children's Literature
In laid-back Ocean Beach, California, 15-year-old skateboarder Andy Ramos dreams of hitting the big-time with his trumpet, his fusion music, and his new old friend, softball player Glory Martinez. Offered a shortcut to stardom by a mysterious man in black, he nearly loses his happiness and his girl. This is an interesting spin on the theme of selling your soul to the devil, told by a decent kid with some concern for the people he steps on along the way, solid values in his roots, and genuine love for his family and his friends. The clearly depicted southern California coastal setting includes an appropriately diverse cast of characters. Plenty of street slang and Spanish are mixed into the dialog. Realistic softball and music scenes alternate with vaguely mystical appearances of a tarot card reader, a street character named the Holy Jokester, and the man in the black suit who shape shifts in the end to a Native American ancestor figure. This redefines Andy's experience as a kind of coming-of-age test, perhaps an unnecessary additional fusion. The story opens with a map and closes with Andy's song lyrics (with chords but no music) highlighting some of the more notable scenes. Andy and Glory first appeared in a short story, "Old School/FuChar Skool" in Big City Cool (Persea Books, 2002). This new version is long, but likely to be appealing to a broad range of readers with its fusion of pop music, street culture, softball, and first love. 2006, Philomel/Penguin, Ages 11 to 16.
—Kathleen Isaacs
School Library Journal

Gr 7-10
Andy Ramos and Glory Martinez are pursuing their respective music and softball dreams in John H. Ritter's novel (Philomel, 2006). Set in San Diego, the story gives a nice flavor of the summer scene at Ocean Beach's diverse community. Trumpeter Andy is creating his own fusion sound with fellow band members Tran and Little Lobo when his childhood friend, Glory, returns to town. Her goal is a softball scholarship, and Andy's music inspires her best play. Old tensions give way to a new romance, and both teens are trying to be there for each other. Opportunities arise for both of them, but Andy almost loses sight of what is really important when a shady figure, Max Lucero, offers the young musician/skateboarder a fast track to fame. Dan Woren narrates with youthful enthusiasm and handles the Latino characters with subtle, but clear accents. The combination of realistic teen relationships, tongue-in-cheek humor, strong family connections, and a bit of Faustian mysticism with Max's character gives this recording broad appeal. High school and public libraries serving Hispanic communities will find it especially valuable.
—Barbara WysockiCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Skateboarding Andy Ramos, an aspiring teen trumpeter whose understanding parents and loving, late grandfather were musicians, forms a "fusion music" band (mixture of hip-hop, Latin jazz, and rock) called "FuChar Skool" with two like-minded friends. At the same time, he meets up with Glory Martinez, a former neighbor in San Diego's funky, honky-tonk Ocean Beach neighborhood who has just returned to the area. When he and Glory were in elementary school, she was a great embarrassment to him, but now she has matured and become a promising softball pitcher. Gradually Andy develops a close and somewhat codependent relationship with her-Glory needs Andy's trumpet riffs at her games to pitch effectively and he needs her to be present at his performances. Ritter adds to this mix three offbeat, strangely omniscient tricksters-a Croatian fortune-teller who speaks in riddles; a street "Holy Jokester" who speaks in jive rhymes; and Max Lucero, a mysterious, ominous figure who attempts to buy Andy's soul by guaranteeing his musical success at all costs. Sparkling with descriptions of music improvisation and softball action, and with expressive, idiomatic Spanglish dialogue, Andy's poetic first-person narrative superbly catches the weird uniqueness of Ocean Beach and briskly moves the somewhat overlong story to a satisfying conclusion.-Jack Forman, Mesa College Library, San Diego Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Andres Ramos has an incredible musical talent that takes the best of jazz, rock, salsa and hip-hop and fuses it into something that is unique and pure. He has huge dreams of being a star, but mostly he wants to be remembered for making a lasting contribution to music. Glory Martinez, ultra-sensitive and fearful of failure, has her own dreams of Olympic softball medals. Somehow, she is calmer and more proficient when Andy comes to practices and games and plays his trumpet just for her, and Andy plays with special intensity at performances when Glory is in the audience. Ritter has crafted a work that is far beyond the ordinary. It's about music and softball, dreams and passion, courage and loyalty and mysticism. The characters are eccentric and dynamic, as is the Ocean Beach, Calif. community in which they live. Even the language is multi-layered, mixing music, sport and street talk with soaring imagery. Three of "Andy's" songs are added as a special gift at the end of this truly remarkable work. (Fiction. 12-16)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399236235
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/4/2006
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 10 years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

John H. Ritter lives in San Diego, California.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2011

    Seems Great!

    I havent yet read this book but it does sound like something i would enjoy! I happen to be a softball pitcher myself so i think that anyone playing baseball or softball can relate to this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2006

    Under the Baseball Moon is amazing!

    It absolutely rocks. I can't say it more perfect than that because it's a wild, almost magical, story that only John Ritter could write. It's about two high school stars, Andy, who loves music and plays trumpet in a garage band, and Glory, who loves baseball 'like crazy' and plays fastpitch softball and has a smoking great pitching arm. But... on their way to becoming superstars, something really weird happens in OB California, described as a 'beachtown filled with soul,' and it tangles them up in the strangest and most interesting story I've read in a long time. Anyone will love this book. I bought it for my son, but I couldn't put it down. It's a definite must read for sports and music lovers old or young or anyone who wants a wholesome, well written, offbeat mystery tale with believable characters. Congratulations to John Ritter for another 'superstar' novel. Get it for whoever, but grab one for yourself too. You'll be glad you did!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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