October 20, 2012

Book Review: The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith

At First Sight: Ryan Walsh should be at school, enduring yet another awful day of Freshman year, but instead she's riding the train toward Wrigley Field. It's opening day for the Cubs. And it's also the 5th anniversary of her father's passing. 

Since it felt like a sign, Ryan decided to go down to the stadium, filled with hope for once in the last five years. Once there she's unable to get in but ends up sitting outside the stadium with Nick, the new kid in her school. 

Nick loves the Cubs almost as much as Ryan does, and it's their shared love for the team the basis of their tentative friendship. With Nick, Ryan can talk or can be silent and it's all good. He doesn't know her secrets and doesn't try to get them out of her. 

Because Nick, he has his secrets too. 

Second Glance: I stayed up last night reading The Comeback Season and I'm going to start by saying that, well... THERE IS NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!!! But damn it, this book made me cry. Honestly, I wouldn't have picked up this book if I had known it was going to be so sad. 

From the cover, I thought it would be a fluffy book with a little bit of romance and baseball, but it wasn't really like that. Ryan has been through a lot of sadness and she uses said sadness as a shield to keep herself at a distance from the world, trying not to get hurt. Particularly now that her friends have dumped her for a more popular crowd. 

In some ways Nick becomes her life line, and it's because of him that she starts to open up a little. They both love the Cubs but in different ways and for different reasons that kind of reflect their approches to life. 

I really liked the story over all, even though it was sad. A lot of it is about Ryan learning to let go of the bad things while keeping the good, and that part was really well done. But there were a few things that kept the book from being perfect for me. 

To start with, it's hard to connect to Ryan at first because the book is told in Third person- present tense and it made it hard to get into the story. And while I get why Ryan and Nick are important to each other, the development of their relationship was choppy. Finally, there are times when there is a lot of info-dump regarding the Cubs's history.   

Bottom Line: In the end, I enjoyed The Comeback Season a lot, and it got to me - it made me cry - but there were many things that I didn't enjoy so much. Still, I'm glad I read the book because once you get into it, you really do feel for Ryan and Nick. 

Favorite Quote: "It's OK to have doubts, even as you hope." Nick

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