CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 39. . . .June 10, 2016
Gnash lives with his grandparents. His grandmother is lovely, but he has seldom heard an encouraging or kind word from his grandfather. So Gnash puts his heart and soul into his baseball. Gnash and his best friends play for the Blues, a pee wee team in Toronto, but they are a hard luck team and really need some wins. Jock is a new kid from the states and a top-notch baseball player, but Gnash does not like him one bit. Gnash is nasty and rude, picking on Jock even more when his friends take Jock’s side. Then, after a fight with the new kid, Gnash finds out Jock is gay, a fact that makes everything even worse. Jock does his best to fit in, though his own attitude defeats him. Consequently, to help his new team, Jock shares his extraordinary skills. Gnash accepts Jock’s help grudgingly. While they are practicing, Gnash and Jock are attacked by bullies from a rival team. Gnash finds he has to protect Jock as well as himself from a beating. Later, after much thought, Gnash realizes that he is really no better than the bullies who attacked them. He, too, is a bully and has bullied Jock since his arrival. Gnash finds a new friend in Jock, and together they plan a successful way to get back at the bullies and beat their rival team.
Joyce Grant, an accomplished journalist, has written her first novel with great success. Well-written and full of relevant kid friendly information, Tagged Out, is an excellent read. I especially enjoyed Grant’s description of the action during the games. Reading it made me feel like I was right there watching the game and feeling what the kids feel in success and in failure. Every ball game is a combination of both success and failure and that is what makes watching and playing fun and challenging. Grant reflects the attitudes and behaviours of today’s young teens and made each of her characters real. Middle school kids will really enjoy reading this novel.
Elaine Fuhr, a retired Elementary and Middle School teacher, resides in Alberta.
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