Author: Tim Green
Publication: HarperCollins (March 3, 2015)
Description: From New York Times bestselling author Tim Green comes a captivating baseball novel about one kid's search of a lifetime.
It's always been just Ryder and his mom. But on the way home from Ryder's baseball practice, everything comes to a halt. An accident sends his mom to the hospital, and now she is fighting for her life. So Ryder goes on a search to find his father, determined to help pay for the expensive operation to save his mother's life. But with only a signed baseball and a letter as his clues, and the help of his next-door neighbor and a New York City firefighter, will everything fall into place in time, or will Ryder become a lost boy forever?
New York Times bestselling author Tim Green knocks this one out of the park, combining heart and baseball to create a story that readers will never forget.
My Thoughts: LOST BOY was a great story with lots of heart and unexpected heroes. Ryder Strong and his mother Ruby have always been a team. They haven't had much money; his mom works as a maid in a hotel. But they have always had each other. Ryder is a good baseball player but his mom wants him to concentrate on his school work. One day, after a game, they have an argument and his mom is hit by a truck. She is in serious condition and needs to have a couple of new heart valves really soon, if she is to survive.
Here's where the first hero comes in. Doyle McDonald was one of the first firemen on the scene. He is the one who began CPR on Ruby. And, when he learned that Ryder was alone, he stuck with him to take care of him. He took him to the hospital and helped get him in to see his mom. When he found out that she needed an expensive operation, he comes up with the idea of doing a fundraiser. However, he didn't know that he couldn't just hold one. There were hoops to jump through and time was not on his side.
This brings in the second hero. Mr. Starr has lived across the hall from Ryder and his mom and has been an emergency contact. But Mr. Starr is in a wheelchair and suffers from fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva which makes him pretty much helpless physically. He is also really grouchy. He is the one who suggests that Ryder try to find his father to see if he can help.
Ryder's only clues about his father are a signed baseball and a mushy love letter that his mother had hidden away in a shoebox in her closet. When he goes to the hospital, his mother in her drugged grogginess says the name Jimmy Trent, which provides another clue. Mr. Starr was an investigative reporter before he became ill. After some tracing, they learn that Jimmy Trent is not a pitcher for the Atlanta Braves.
Ryder and Mr. Starr take off for Atlanta to try to contact him to see if he will give them the money for the surgery. However, getting to see a famous baseball player isn't easy and the pair has lots of adventures and difficulties before they can actually talk to him - and find out that he isn't much of a hero at all.
The story was very engaging. I couldn't put it down. I loved Ryder's perseverance as he tries to do whatever he can to save his mother's life. I loved the grouchy Mr. Starr. Fans of contemporary middle grade fiction who like some sports in their stories will enjoy this one very much.
He couldn't help thinking how different his life would have been and how different it might now be, with a father. He realized not having one was a big part of why he'd been so shy and so reluctant to make friends. It was because he felt like something was wrong with him, that he was missing something and not as good as other people.I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.