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Center Field
by Robert Lipsyte
PUBL. RECOMMENDED AGE: 12+
LEXILE READING LEVEL: HL610L {what is this?}
PUBLISHER: HarperTeen
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2010
NO. PAGES: 288
GENRE{S}: Sports Fiction
MAIN CHARACTER GENDER: Male
ISBN: 0060557044
READ & REVIEWED BY: Tiffany - StorySnoop


The Story
Center Field—Book Review

Mike's junior year begins exactly the way he wants it to. He is the starting center fielder on the varsity baseball team, and he has a solid group of friends and a popular girlfriend. Life as he knows it changes when Oscar Ramirez joins the team, outplays Mike and takes away his starting position. After lashing out at a fellow student, Mike gets detention with a very political group of kids, one of whom is the extremely attractive and mysterious Kat Herold. Mike finds out a few things about what is going on on his team, at his school, and with his coach, and he has a lot of decisions to make about what to do.
The Scoop
Center Field—Book Review
{spoiler alert}

Center Field is much more than a book about baseball. Fans of the sport will be entertained by the play-by-play action, but they will also enjoy the richer aspects of the book dealing with politics, personal interactions, and sportsmanship. Discrimination and immigration politics are central to the storyline, as an important character is from the Dominican Republic and is often referred to as an "illegal." Ethnic slurs are implied and one is actually spoken ("beaner"). Bullying takes place on numerous occasions, including intimidation tactics and fist fighting. Language is graphic and teen sex takes place and is briefly described. Underage drinking and drug use (pot) take place at unchaperoned parties. Social activism is important to teens in this story and two groups are divided politically as well as socially. A serious issue involving the baseball coach is uncovered which leads to his firing, and a main character struggles with depression. Excellent discussion material is provided about doing the right thing and being a good role model. This book's content may be more appropriate for a reader older than the publisher's recommended age of twelve and up.
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