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Center Field (2010)

by Robert Lipsyte(Favorite Author)
3.95 of 5 Votes: 3
0060557044 (ISBN13: 9780060557041)
review 1: Mike is set to have his best season ever. He is a shoe-in for starting center field on the varsity team. Everything is going his way. Then things start to fall apart. First a new kid shows up, challenging Mike's position on the team. Then, after Mike pushes a kid in the hall, he is given community service rather than expulsion, the school's normal zero tolerance punishment. His community service has an ulterior motive, however. The Dean (who also happens to be Mike's coach) wants him to spy on the tech kids. He thinks they are hacking into school files. Mike is not comfortable doing this but is afraid his place on the team will be in jeopardy if he doesn't.There are several subplots that go on here: illegal immigration, the reality of a hero, mental health, a love... more interest. None of these are really resolved by the end of the story.Mike should have an ulcer with all the time that he spent worrying and thinking before he made a decision to do the right thing. Then the climax of the story happens a little two quickly. It took over 40 chapters for him to decide what was right, then just two chapters to rap it up.There was way too much stereotypical jocks versus nerds, with jocks being the only ones who could be role models.
review 2: Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.comMike Semak's dream is to play center field. His idol is Yankee centerfielder Billy Budd. He lives and breathes any advice he can find from the great Billy Budd.Mike's focus is directed at playing his best, which means clearing his mind of anything that is not baseball. He tries to steer clear of too-serious relationships with girls. He avoids involvement in his parents' latest project - opening a new floor covering store - and he pushes the problems of his sister, a single young mother living in New York, and his older brother, a championship cello player, to the back of his mind.Unfortunately, Mike comes up against several distractions that may threaten the intense focus on his goal. One obstacle standing in his way is a new player named Oscar. He is a new kid from the Dominican Republic who shows up and looks to be a challenge for the center field position. Coach Cody lets them both know they will have to prove themselves to earn the position.All the pressure Mike is feeling about baseball comes to a head in a silly incident with a notorious school geek named Zack. In a moment of lost control, Mike shoves Zack and ends up regretting it when, as punishment, he finds himself helping the Cyber Club provide Saturday computer instruction at the local senior center. Having the little computer nerd boss him around is almost more than he can take. The only highlight about the community service becomes another distraction for Mike's center field dreams - Katherine Herold.Kat is a track athlete with an interest in photography and filming. Her membership in the Cyber Club surprises Mike, but he's glad to have a chance to get to know her. As people notice them together, word gets back to his cheerleader girlfriend, but Mike never thought of their relationship as particularly exclusive and his fascination with Kat seems worth the price he might pay with Lori.Complicating matters even further is Coach Cody. Mike has always looked up to Coach, so when the man approaches Mike with a request, it is natural that Mike wants to help. Cody wants Mike to infiltrate the Cyber Club in an effort to bust them for hacking into the school computer system. Problems arise when Mike begins to suspect that Coach is using him in exchange for the center field position. Even more suspicious is the fact that as Mike begins to become friends with Zack, he learns that Coach Cody might not be exactly who he says he is.Robert Lipsyte has filled CENTER FIELD with more than just baseball action. Mike's performance on the field is illustrated in excellent play-by-play narrative, but there is much more to this novel. There is intrigue as Coach Cody uses Mike to investigate the possible computer hackers, and additional suspense comes from new member of the team, Oscar, as well as the not-so-perfect Kat and her intoxicating power over Mike. CENTER FIELD has a little something for everyone. Readers who are not sports enthusiasts should not shy away from the title or cover art. It is definitely an entertaining read. less
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This is a good young adult novel, told from the boy's point of view - a change for me!
jock culture
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