Friday, January 18, 2013

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip

Title: Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip
Author: Jordan Sonnenblick
Publisher: Scholastic 
Publication Date: March, 2012
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel
Goodreads Summary: Sometimes, the greatest comebacks take place far away from the ball field.
     Meet Peter Friedman, high school freshman. Talented photographer. Former baseball star. When a freakish injury ends his pitching career, Peter has some major things to figure out. Is there life after sports? Why has his grandfather suddenly given him thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment? And is it his imagination, or is the super-hot star of the girls' swim team flirting with him, right in front of the amazing new girl in his photography class? In his new novel, teen author Jordan Sonnenblick performs his usual miraculous feat: exploring deep themes of friendship, romance, family, and tragedy, while still managing to be hilariously funny.
What Kellee Thinks: This book beautifully intertwines 4 topics (photography, baseball, dementia and first loves) into a relatable teenage story. Peter's voice rings true throughout the book and is the type of protagonist I like to see in books - real. Peter is a little bit of a nerd, a little bit of a sports nut, a little bit of a photographer, and a little bit of a family guy, but he finds out through his freshman year how to survive without something he always thought he'd have in his life and find a passion in something else. 
     One thing I liked that Sonnenblick tied in was the idea that Peter can deceive his conscious self and others as much as he wants, but through his dreams his subconscious shows what our true emotions are. Another highlight for me was the "The Decisive Moment" which was a phrase coined by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson which is a photograph that speaks the truth. It is stolen, taken on the run and decisive. This idea becomes a major theme throughout the book and almost Peter's montra.
What Jen Thinks: This week I finished listening to Curveball on audio. I read and reviewed it here last year and rereading it (by listening to it) was a treat. Curveball is actually a book I have wanted to ask Colby to read and discuss for our I-94 book club for a while now (and we are finally going to!) I enjoyed this book even more the second time around. I think at first, I was clouded by all of Sonnenblick's other books that I love. This book has strong characters like his other books, but it is definitely different. I love how he builds characters and their stories in such a way that I couldn't help feeling for them. Actually, I found myself relating this book to The Notebook by Nicholas Spark because of how Pete has to face his grandfather's Alzheimer's. Sonnenblick lets us see into Pete's heart as he grapples with so many issues that seem easy for anyone to relate to. 
Read Together: Grades 7 to 12
Read Alone: Grades 8 to 12
Read With: Pop by Gordon Korman, By My Brother's Side by Tiki and Ronde Barber, The Notebook by Nicholas Spark
Snatch of Text: "Three photos. In the first, a hand holds a baseball in the classic pitcher's grip: first two fingers across the top seam, thumb underneath. The pitcher's arm extends almost straight back into the picture and blurs into his face. The hand and the front of the ball are what photographers refer to as a tack sharp: You can see whorls of fingerpint pattern on the skin, a jagged nail, every stitch and scuff on the ball. And you can somehow feel the tension in the figers, almsot imagine that hand crushing yours in it clawed grip. Maybe you've heard somewhere that a picture is supposed to hold the ball loosely. Then again, this picture isn't going to be throwing the ball anyway." (p. 127)
Mentor Text for: Imagery, Dialogue, Voice, Humor, Attention Grabbers
Writing Prompts: Observe and analyze one of Henri Cartier-Bresson's photos. Using imagery, describe the photos so others could visualize it. Then infer what is happening in the photo and predict what happened before/after the photo was taken.
Topics Covered: Photography, Baseball, Injury, Rehab/Recovery, Dementia, High School, Art History, Love

Kellee *hearts* It:
(4.5 hearts)
Jen *hearts* It: 

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