Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
4 ½ Home runs!
I love baseball. Therefore I love books with baseball and baseball players. I really enjoyed the first three in this series, but I think this one might be my favorite. The previous books all revolved around MLB players at different places in their careers. In this installment, we get to see the side we don’t often see- a guy trying to make it up from the minors to the majors. Think Bull Durham. But gay. And without the cocky attitude of Nuke Laloosh.
Not only is Nick playing in the minors and fighting for a spot in the big show, he is also fighting to distance himself from his father- himself a former MLB player and current general manager for the team he plays in the minors for. He doesn’t want any preferential treatment. He is also harboring a secret- he doesn’t want anyone to know he is gay. Which is just so silly. Not only is his team very open and accepting of gay players- several have come before him and still play. But he doesn’t want that label. So while he is having a hot and heavy fling with Cody, he abruptly ends it to focus more on his career.
Fast forward a few years. Nick is still playing in the minors, but Cody is taken on as a social media intern. He doesn’t expect to run into Nick the first day, but he does.
What I loved about this book. Nick is in the proverbial closet, but he doesn’t end things with Cody because of that- even though that is what Cody thinks. He ends it because he doesn’t want distractions. He wants to make it to the majors.
Ms. Johnson also shines a light on what minor league players go through. It is hardly the glamorous life of a big leaguer. They have to play as a team while battling for the few MLB roster spots. They often travel by bus. They make very little money. They are constantly traded away and rarely get to be with their families. And the politics of baseball could almost put Washington to shame.
I also loved how Cody really came into his own. We met him in a previous book when a couple of players took him in. At the beginning of the book he was a high school senior struggling with life. When we meet him again he is finishing up college and has his eyes firmly on what he wants to do with his life. And although he still loves Nick, he does not immediately jump into his arms.
This book was a roller coaster ride. It was great storytelling from Nick’s point of view. I don’t want to spoil things in the book- because you really need to read it- but the range of highs and lows that he experiences rings so true. Through it all though is Cody.
We get some glimpses and scenes of players from past books, which I always love. You don’t have to read their books to know them in this book. But don’t miss those books, because they are really good.
Great book without the typical cliché angst, it was sweet and although there were struggles, the pay off is totally worth it.
Cover art is terrific, spot on with the sport.
Published May 9th 2016