Change Up by John Feinstein

The latest in the Susan Carol/Stevie mystery series. In this one, the two teenage journalists cover the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Boston Red Sox. During the playoffs, Stevie discovers Norbert Doyle, an career minor-leaguer who, against all odds, makes the team for the series and is tapped to start Game Two. Stevie may have lucked into the best story of the Series, but as he learns more about Doyle’s past, he starts finding things that don’t add up.

As much as I want to love these books, I only like them. Feinstein is a great sports writer, especially when writing non-fiction, but the name-dropping and over explanation of baseball strategy really pulled me out of the story. I also thought the mystery was kind of a let-down at the end and found the fawning that seasoned sportswriters and announcers did over meeting Stevie and Susan Carol to be unrealistic. It just didn’t pull me in like some of the other books in the series.

Give this one a miss and pick up Heat by Mike Lupica or The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane instead for an excellent YA sports read. Or (if you’re a grown-up like me) pick up Feinstein’s The Last Amateurs, which is one of the best books on college basketball that I’ve ever read.

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