Posts Tagged 'poor'

Golden Arm by Carl Deuker

Genre: Sports Fiction

Lazarus earned his name when he almost died at birth and, in his mother’s eyes, came back to life. His father has never been in the picture and he was raised in a trailer with his mom and half brother. They have never had much money, but Laz was always happy to make due with whatever they could scrape together. Antonio, Laz’s little brother, has always wanted a better life than what they had. As they grew up, Laz begins working at a nearby golf range and watches helplessly as his brother begins hanging with a tough crowd. Laz has always had his pitching to keep him clear headed and focused, but when some members of his high school team were dismissed for possession of alcohol they were forced to forfeit the remainer of the season in Laz’s junior year. Now that he is a senior, he’s hoping to really show the area what he can do on the pitcher’s mound. Then, two things happen to change his senior plans. First, his coach leaves for another job and his high school principal declines to get a new one thereby cutting the baseball program. Second, they are notified that their trailer park is going to be demolished and they have six months to move, which would mean Laz would be moving in the middle of baseball season. Before he leaves, Laz’s coach contacts a nearby suburban school and convinces them to take a look at Laz. When they learn he could be in danger of moving one of the families offers to let him move in during second semester so that he can go to the new school and pitch on the team. For the first time, Laz is getting some real attention for his pitching, but he can’t help but feel guilty about leaving his brother behind. Can Laz pitch to a state championship? Can he help his brother stay out of trouble in his old neighborhood? Will he find a plan for himself once graduation is over now that his home is being destroyed?

Fans of baseball books will enjoy this new title by Carl Deuker. Laz is a likable character who has had a tough time up until now and at first it looks like his luck will really sink his future until his new school steps up and offers him a chance to go to school there. Laz does not let the opulence of his new home and school get to him, however. He knows they are only letting him into their world because of his pitching and he knows he does not belong there. Meanwhile, Antonio, who always had an easier time in the classroom appears to be going down a path that is difficult to come back from, but does not want to hear any advice from Laz. Laz is torn about whether or not to bring up his concerns with his mother because he does not want to betray Antonio. The baseball action is written in a well paced and exciting way to make the reader feel a part of the game. The ending is realistic, but optimistic at the same time. This is a great title for readers who like to read about sports, but want an interesting story alongside the sports action.

The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose by Mary Hooper

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Age Level: 13 and up

# of Pages:  333 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Eliza Rose is shocked when her stepmother throws her onto the street and tells her she is no longer welcome at the home she has always known.  She travels to London alone looking for her father who works as a carpenter.  In the meantime she falls upon some hard times trying to survive.  She experiences jail and many other horrors that the poor had to deal with during this time.  She ends up getting rescued by Nell Gwyn, a real person who was believed to be a mistress of Charles II.  Eliza must learn a lot about herself and her capabilities in order to find where she belongs.

The balance of actual people, events, and places with the fictional story make it seem as believable as possible.  Eliza’s story is interesting, if not a bit predictable.  The people she encounters and the situations they are in make the story really interesting and give an idea of what London was like in 1670 for everyone from the monarchy to the highwaymen.  The fates of many she meets are bleak and not everyone gets saved in those situations like Eliza does.  The ending seems quick, but is still an acceptable finish to this delightful story. Fans of historical fiction books will enjoy it.


Archives