Scott Volz's Reviews > Heat

Heat by Mike Lupica
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Apr 24, 12

bookshelves: ya-novel, realistic-fiction, grades-6-8
Read in March, 2012

Twelve-year-old Michael Arroyo loves baseball. And he’s a left-handed pitcher with the kind of talent that could one day land him in the Major Leagues. First, his dream is to play in the Little League World Series. When Michael’s on the field--wherever it’s a pick-up game with friends or critical match-up for his All-Star team--the rest of his problems melt away. And Michael’s got some very serious problems. A year before, Michael, his older brother Carlos, and his father emigrated from their native Cuba to the United States, ending up in the Bronx, on the doorstep of Yankee Stadium. Michael’s father has big dreams for him, but three months before the start of the book Michael’s father had a heart attack and died, news he and Carlos have kept a secret in fear that they’ll be broken up by child services or even deported. Carlos tries to keep the family of two scraping by through working several low-paying, “off-the-books” kinds of jobs, and Michael keeps playing ball. But even the solace of sport is threatened when an opposing coach asks for Michael’s birth certificate which, unfortunately, was left behind in Cuba. Now Michael might not even be allowed to play the game he loves…

Heat is an underdog story that should really appeal to sports fan. However, author Lupica has created compelling characters and dramatic situations that just about everyone can relate to on some level.
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