Isaac is a perfectionist. This extends to everything in his life, but especially his love for baseball. He dreams of pitching a perfect game 18 batters, all out and of earning a spot on the summer travel team. But Isaac hasn’t learned to handle it when things go wrong. After his latest meltdown, his coach asks him to help out with a Unified Basketball team where intellectually challenged kids and mainstream kids, all play together.
Cover Gushing Worthiness: I think the cover of Perfect Game is perfect for the book, consider that it is a sports book. It’s also a good attention grabber, especially for boys interested in reading it.
Review: Ever since reading Second Impact by David and Perri Klass I’ve been on the lookout for more books focusing on sports- specifically the culture, the attitudes, the people etc. I also wanted to explore sports culture at a younger age.
This is my first experience reading Fred Bowen’s work and after reading Perfect Game I’ll gladly go back and read his previous books which focus on a variety of different sports. I can’t believe I hadn’t discovered his books sooner!
Isaac is a pitcher for the Giants Baseball team and he is determined to pitch the perfect game. He also wants to play for the Thunderbolts- a summer Baseball team made up of all star players in the division. As Isaac plans to pitch the perfect game, he starts to lose control. Seeing Isaac lose his temper during one of the games, Coach Park decides to recruit Isaac to help out with the Unified Sports Team he coaches on weekends.
I enjoyed the story of Perfect Game a lot and I think it was a good portrayal of pressure kids put on themselves as well as parental expectations when it comes to succeeding in sports. I liked that the book focused on intellectually challenged kids playing sports- I don’t know if a lot of literature focuses Unified Sports/Special Olympics so it was nice to discover a book that did so. Another aspect I enjoyed was the focus on language- specifically the use of the word ‘retard.’ When I worked at university as an undergraduate student one of the things we discussed during our training was the use of language and what’s appropriate. So I was happy this book addressed an issue I feel strongly about.
I didn’t have any issues with the pacing of this book since it is geared towards a younger audience. As expected the story moved forward smoothly and it had a good ending. As I read the book it became quite clear that Fred Bowen is indeed a sports fanatic!I liked that he gave extensive details about Baseball scores, players and the plays. I can’t say that I completely understood the logistics of Baseball, but I appreciated the fact that Bowen included so much detail.
As far as characters go I thought Isaac was a likable character. In the beginning he displays a really competitive streak and you get the feeling that he really isn’t a team player because he’s so focused on pitching the perfect game. However you do realize that his competitiveness is driven by his father who wants Isaac to be the perfect pitcher. As the book progresses you do see Isaac grow as a character. I liked Kevin, a kid on the Unified Sports Team Isaac helps out with. I enjoyed reading about their budding friendship. I think Isaac’s friendship with Kevin was what allowed him to grow as a character.
The secondary characters were all likable, except Isaac’s dad. There isn’t a lot of focus given to them, but they all do add to the story in some way. In the beginning I had a difficult time liking Isaac’s dad because he put so much pressure on Isaac. Half the time I kept on thinking ‘chill out dad, he’s just a kid. He’s got a long way to go before he thinks about Major League Baseball.” However I was really proud of Isaac when he sort of stands up to his dad. This is the conversation they had at the Thunderbolts tryouts.
Great Job! You weren’t perfect , but-
Dad. I did the best I could in a tough situation. That’s perfect enough. I mean I’m happy with my performance.
Overall Perfect Game was a fun read. I won’t claim to be an expert on Baseball, but I liked learning about the Sport and I definitely liked learning about Unified Sports. There’s a section in the book which introduces the reader to Special Olympics which is a good addition to the book.
My Rating: 4/5
Would I recommend it? Yes
Perfect Game is published by Peachtree Publishers. This copy was provided by Netgalley. Thank You Netgalley for this finished copy in exchange for an honest review.