Saturday, February 11, 2017

ARC Review: A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White

A Season of Daring Greatly
Author: Ellen Emerson White
Publication: Greenwillow Books (February 14, 2017)

Description: Eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty just made history. Her high school’s star pitcher, she is now the first woman drafted by a major league baseball team. Only days after her high school graduation, she’ll join the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A Short Season team . . . but not everyone is happy to have her there.

On top of the pressure heaped on every pitcher, Jill must deal with defying conventions and living up to impossible expectations, all while living away from home for the first time. She’ll go head-to-head against those who are determined to keep baseball an all-male sport. Despite the reassurance of coaches and managers alike, a few of her teammates are giving her trouble. The media presence following her at each game is inescapable. And to top it all off, Jill is struggling with the responsibilities of being a national hero and a role model for young women everywhere. How can she be a role model when she’s not even sure she made the right choice for herself? Didn’t baseball used to be fun?

This literary and engrossing story of a young woman trying to mark out a place for herself in a male-dominated world will captivate fans of Friday Night Lights, The Art of Fielding, John Corey Whaley, and Laurie Halse Anderson.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story of a young woman becoming the first woman drafted into Major League Baseball. Jill is a athlete. She plays baseball and basketball and is remarkably good at both. Her heart is with baseball though. At the end of her senior year, she was drafted into the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. She has a scholarship to Stanford in her back pocket, but when she is drafted in the Third Round, that tips the balance to giving professional baseball a try.

Jill is a great pitcher but now she will finally be competing with people with as much talent as she has. She also has to be a trailblazer and role model. She knows it won't be easy. She knows she'll miss her family and her family dog Maggie. Her family is still grieving the loss of her father who died on deployment with the National Guard about four years before this story begins. She has a lot of support from her brother and her mother and her best friends Lauren and Greg. She needs to lean on all of them when times get tough.

Jill has to deal with leaving home, living with a host family, interacting with teammates who aren't all excited about having a woman for a teammate. She has to deal with massive amounts of media attention. She is thoughtful and articulate but the constant media attention is hard to deal with. She tries hard to be bland but her quirky humor does come out once in a while.

I enjoyed her relationship with her catcher who knows he's a great catcher but also knows he won't go much farther in baseball because of his lack of hitting. She is on the same team as another one of the recent draft picks that she met during all the signing hoopla and he becomes a good friend. She also makes friends with the Japanese pitcher who is just learning English. Her fluent Spanish also makes friends among the Spanish-speaking players. Even though she makes lots of friends, there are lots of team members including the number one draft pick who is constantly belittling her.

Fans of sports stories will enjoy this entertaining story with a great main character.

Favorite Quote:
"They probably just want you to be yourself," Lauren said.

No. A trailblazer was supposed to be impressive. Special. "I think they're expecting someone -- I don't know." Jill said. "Inspirational, and enthusiastic, and -- cuddly." Perky. Adorable. The girl next door.

Lauren laughed. "I hate to be the one to break it to you, but I don't think 'cuddly' is ever going to happen."
I received this one for review from . You can buy your copy here.

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