Sunday, April 6, 2008

Heat by Mike Lupica

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 Heat caught me by surprise.  I'm really not a big sports fan and in general, not a lover of sports fiction.  Though the love of baseball is definitely a central theme throughout the book, the novel is not just sports-centered.  The book is really a story of great courage and determination.  This is a feel good story that has the struggling young hero winning at the end, despite the great odds against him.  This has the makings of a great movie - though any shortened film adaptation will be weak in comparison to the book.

Michael is only twelve years old, but his pitching skills rival professional adult ball players.  His competitors are no match for Michael, and they (along with the coaches and jealous parents) know it.  Before long, a few people band together to take the matter in their own hands.  Michael is asked to produce his birth certificate in order to continue playing in the Little League.  This will show his true age and prove his American citizenship.  Ordinarily this situation would be a cinch for Michael.  His father would know who to contact in Cuba in order to obtain the proper documentation.  Then Michael could go back to the game - the sport that was his passion. 

There's a big problem.  Michael has a secret.

One that could not only end his promising future in baseball, but that could tear him away from the only family he has left.

You will find yourself rooting for Michael and will learn through his example that with enough hard work and determination, any dream is possible.

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