- Craig Graziano
Peter Friedman has been training as a baseball pitcher his entire life. He and his best friend A.J. have always planned on making and dominating their high school team. But you can't always count on your plans to work out. Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip is one teen's journey to figure out what Plan B is.
When Peter seriously injures his throwing arm during the last game of his middle school career, it becomes clear that he's not going to be throwing any more strikes. It must be devastating to have to change your main goal in life so suddenly. Thankfully Peter also has an interest in photography, due to his grandfather, who has shot thousands of weddings. The kid has a lot of expertise and training on his side. Pete's grandfather knows all the equipment and techniques. He even remembers the name of every bride he's shot.
Once ninth grade starts, Peter finds himself swept into an advanced photography class for seniors. The only other freshman in the class is Angelika, who is funny, cute, and very knowledgeable about cameras herself. Things seem to be turning out fine.
But Peter can't shake his pitching past. A.J. keeps talking about spring training as if his friend didn't blow out his elbow. Will A.J. even want to hang out with Peter once they go their separate ways? Plus, Peter's grandfather is acting strange. He gave Peter all of his cameras and lenses and quit his job. He runs into one of the brides he shot and says "Nice to meet you." Peter just doesn't know what to do. Luckily Angelika offers some words of wisdom. At the same time, his talent gets him a job as a sports photographer for the yearbook.
This story managed to ask a lot of soul-searching, emotional questions without drowning in utter depression. A sports story that mainly takes place in the off season, Jordan Sonnenblick's book shows how life can toss all sorts of curveballs at us.