You know those no bake cookies with oats, chocolate, peanut butter, sugar, and butter in them–the ones that involve boiling ingredients for a certain amount of time? The ones that you drop onto waxed paper to harden and then hide in the freezer to prolong the fantasy that you have an entire batch all to yourself? (And it IS a fantasy.) The ones that I am INCAPABLE OF NOT EATING CONTINUOUSLY IF THEY ARE PRESENT?
Ahem. Well. My point is that there are authors like that–authors I have to read, authors I crave, authors I cannot resist and that never disappoint me. Robin McKinley is one, even if she occasionally gets strange, and I grieved for her when her husband died. Gary D. Schmidt is another–his latest is sitting on my shelf waiting for me. Joan Bauer, author of (most recently) Soar, is a third.
Bauer is a shining example of how my Newbery project has managed to bring me joy. (Come to think of it, McKinley and Schmidt are two more examples of exactly that.) I came across her Hope Was Here years ago, read everything out by her at the time, and started popping over to her website occasionally to make sure I didn’t miss a new release. I thought I’d done that fairly recently, in fact, which is why the sight of a new Bauer book on display at the library in May stopped me in my tracks. (Quite literally.) My own card was maxed, so I checked it out on my second girlie’s card–shameless, I know–and I’ve been looking forward to it ever since. (It’s been a busy summer.)
It was worth the wait. Jeremiah Lopper is a baseball fanatic with a complicated history. He can’t play at the moment–his heart transplant didn’t go quite as smoothly as would have been preferred–but when his dad gets a brief consulting job in a town famous for its love of baseball, he’s determined to come along for the ride. Hillcrest’s relationship with baseball, however, is changing–struggling, in fact–and Jeremiah’s involvement changes right along with it. As it turns out, his heart is just what the Hillcrest community needs.
I savored this book, folks. Jeremiah is delightful and had me frequently chuckling, and the big game at the end kept me riveted. (Why reading about fictional baseball games can do that when watching actual baseball games generally bores me to tears, I’ll never know.) Several popular Bauer themes make an appearance, and that’s not a bad thing–they’re part of what makes her books so delicious. She is a true literary no-bake cookie, and that is a serious honor.
Don’t miss this one, people. It has something for everyone.