- A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White
Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-06-246321-0 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-0-06-246323-4 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R* Gr. 7-10
Some young woman is bound to break the glass ceiling into Major League Baseball, and with her reliable 90 mph fastball and a wicked curve, much-scouted high school pitcher Jill McCafferty knows she has a chance. When the call actually comes—in the middle of her senior Spanish finals—she’s floored to learn she’s been picked in the third round of the draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Goodbye, Stanford; hello, upstate New York and Class A ball to hone her skills. There’s no time to soak in the reality of this unexpected turn, and with a novelty-hungry media pressing in, agents calling nonstop, a contract to negotiate, and gear to pack, Jill’s hustled from Pirates event to event, introduced to her summer host family, and on the road with a busload of teammates who cover the entire welcome spectrum. While little girls clamor to have their baseballs autographed and their dreams validated, plenty of traditionalists believe she’s ruining a hallowed sport and are beyond profane in their catcalling; indeed, one team member is even fired for urinating on her belongings. Nerves thoroughly jangled, Jill is now expected to pitch like a pro or become the [End Page 287] object lesson in why women must stick to softball. White imbues Jill with a fully credible mix of steely resolve, stealthy sense of humor, carefully repressed rage against her naysayers, and old-fashioned homesickness; she’s also aware of her burden of responsibility to female pro aspirants and she, with good reason, fears she’ll lose her love of the game to the pressure. Plenty of female players in the pipeline wonder when women will get their chance; now these readers can ponder whether that first pro experience will be a lot like this.