Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com
BEANBALL by Gene Fehler will not be gathering any dust on library or classroom shelves. As soon as the first sports fan has read it, the line of readers will be forming right out the door.
Luke Wallace is known as "Wizard." Star baseball, football, and basketball player by his junior year in high school, he already has college and pro scouts showing up at his games. But if any scouts showed up at the game against Oak Grove's rival school Compton, they probably left shaking their heads.
Compton's top-notch pitcher, instructed to throw an inside pitch, loses control and hits Luke right in the face. He goes down, as the umpire describes, "like he was shot." The players, the fans, his parents, and friends are stunned. The ambulance arrives and transports Luke to the ICU at the local hospital.
Now, instead of facing a brilliant sports career, Luke is facing several surgeries and a prolonged recovery. Knowledge that he has lost the sight in his left eye has Luke fighting to find a reason to get better and get on with his life. The tragedy of Luke's accident is felt throughout his community.
BEANBALL is written in verse with a wide cast of characters telling Luke's story from a variety of view points. Although I assigned a grade-level of 9+, this could easily be an acceptable read for 7th- and 8th-graders, as well. Reluctant readers with an interest in sports will be wanting more when they finish BEANBALL.