YA Contemporary (Sports)
Available now (April 2006)
Review copy from classroom bookshelf
Michael Arroyo has a pitching arm that throws serious heat. But his firepower is nothing compared to the heat Michael faces in his day-to-day life. Newly orphaned after his father led the family's escape from Cuba, Michael's only family is his seventeen-year-old brother Carlos. If Social Services hears of their situation, they will be separated in the foster-care system--or worse, sent back to Cuba. Together, the boys carry on alone, dodging bills and anyone who asks too many questions. But then someone wonders how a twelve-year-old boy could possibly throw with as much power as Michael Arroyo throws. With no way to prove his age, no birth certificate, and no parent to fight for his cause, Michael's secret world is blown wide open, and he discovers that family can come from the most unexpected sources.
Have you ever been good at something? I mean REALLY good at something? Well, in this world, particularly in the sports world, a lot of people don't like it when there's someone who's simply the best. And in the world of Michael Arroyo, baseball is the key to his survival--the key to life itself. He's led his Little League team into the playoffs, and on the way up that hard road, he's beaten a lot of good players, which makes a lot of the coaches, mostly fathers of the opposing teams' players, upset and feel the need to file a complaint. They claim Michael Arroyo is too old for Little League baseball. Just goes to show some people would do anything to be number one.
Still, fighting that battle shouldn't be a problem, right? Wrong. Michael lives with his brother, Carlos, and they both hide the secret of their father's death. If any Official were to find out, the brothers would be separated. Oh, and that's not the worst part. It's not so easy to find a birth certificate when it's been left of the boat...from Cuba.
This was pretty much the perfect book for me. It hooked me right from the introduction. I mean, how can you not read a book about someone named Michael Arroyo? My love of sports and hatred of boring books came together to make this book jump off the classroom shelf. Heat further emphasizes the constant point that nothing is truly impossible and to never give up. You'll be hearing me say the same thing on camera when I'm playing in the World Cup (look for #18). I'm not actually even a baseball fan, and though this book is focused around baseball, it wasn't a problem. In fact, it made the book even better.
Okay, no beating around the bush this time -- just read this book because Daniel says so!
Teen Reviewer Daniel: aka McFlurry Murray, the coolest kid EVER, has a moustachio, and a little bit of chin hair. He kind of needs to shave that moustachio though but he doesn't want to have a baby face. He trims it every other week, and the ladies enjoy stroking the moustachio, which makes scrubs* like his friend Justin jealous. So, if you're just walking around and you see Daniel and you're like, "Wow, I wanna stroke his moustachio," don't feel weird because the person beside you wants to do it also.
*Teen slang for loosahs/losers/dorks/wannabes/haters