Out of Left Field – Kris Hui Lee – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 1 May 2018
There’s no playing it safe in love or baseball in this sparkling debut, perfect for fans of Morgan Matson and Kasie West.
Marnie has never had a hard time fitting in with the guys. It would take a lot more than their goofy antics to keep her from joining them at the neighborhood sandlot to do what she loves best: play ball.
An added perk of hanging out at the sandlot? Spending time with Cody Kinski, their high school’s star pitcher and Marnie’s best friend. Sure, he can be stubborn and annoying. He also knows how to make her laugh and respects her skills on the field. And when he gets nailed in the arm by a bone-fracturing pitch, Marnie becomes the team’s best chance at making it to the playoffs. Except no one told the guys they’re supposed to be on her side.
With her own team against her, Marnie begins questioning her abilities. And when fate throws her a curveball, can she play without losing the game, Cody, and her belief in herself?
Out of Left Field is a lighthearted, sport-adoring, lots-of-fun novel that revels in the celebration of strong friendship, pushing the boundaries, and finding the courage to chase your dream. I highly enjoying reading Out of Left Field, and highly recommend it to readers who love playful, sport-centred YA contemporary.
Marnie loves playing baseball with her friends in the neighbourhood park. She loves baseball. But after an incident while pitching for the softball team, Marnie only plays for fun and not competitively. Until, when her best-friend, Cody, is injured, the opportunity arises for her to take his spot as the pitcher on the boy’s baseball team. Trying out for the position challenges Marnie’s faith in herself, her friendships with the other boys on the team, and her relationship (friendship that has the possibility to become so much more) with Cody.
I do so love sport fiction. I especially love fiction centred around women in sport. And I adore stories where women get to challenge the guys by stepping up to the boys’ teams. Out of Left Field totally ticks all those boxes. The style of the book reminds me of Miranda Kenneally’s Hundred Oaks series, with the same balance between sport, friendship, and romance.
Marnie is a likeable character. She is most comfortable playing with her friends, throwing around insults and lively banter, and trying not to get into too much trouble. I loved that she is a typical teen trying to muddle her way through life. She has a great self-awareness and is quick to acknowledge her flaws, even if she is sometimes reluctant to make the first steps of apology. I also really liked Marnie’s friends, from dog-loving and black-belt karate champ Sara to the other guys on the baseball team. And then there is Cody. Theirs is a relationship I could totally support, and I loved watching Cody and Marnie struggle with the blurring lines of their friendship. Should they risk their history for a chance at a romantic relationship? Does the other share their growing feelings? So much fun.
Diverse characters, a strong but simple storyline, and the perfect balance between baseball, friendship, and romance. Out of Left Field is easy to highly recommend.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction.
Genre: Contemporary – Sport.
Themes: Sport, Baseball, Teams, Family, Friendship, Coaching, Women in sport, sport injuries, high school.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Frequent sexual references, innuendo and references to sexual relationships. Frequent coarse language, f*** (27), sh** (65), sl** (2), as***** (20), bit** (2), dou*** (3), pi** (18, di** (7).
Published: 1 May 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 320 pages.