Gr 5-8—It's the summer after middle school and Cassie Bennett is gearing up for the all-star softball season. Cassie is a strong all-around athlete, having made waves as a standout on the boys' basketball team. Now she's looking forward to leading her Walton Red Sox through another undefeated season and competing for a chance to play for a regional championship in Fenway Park. The biggest challenge comes from the rupture of her friend group with the arrival of a new player, Sarah Milligan, who has Asperger's Syndrome. While several of the girls reject Sarah because her disability makes them uncomfortable, Cassie takes her on as someone to "fix." Alongside the softball story is a complementary one about Cassie's friends, Jack, Teddy, and Gus, and the plight of their baseball team after the removal of their overbearing coach and the related tension with his high-strung son, Sam. Through an eventful summer both on and off the field, Cassie and the others learn much about themselves and what kind of commitment it takes to maintain both a friendship and a team, while Cassie gets an insightful lesson from Sarah's mom about the difference between sympathy and empathy. Lupica describes game play with appropriate detail that should please fans but avoids letting the social plot get lost in the weeds. Periodic explorations into the psychology of pitching will be intriguing even to readers not interested in the game. VERDICT A compelling read with important lessons, Lupica's latest is highly recommended for libraries serving middle graders.—Bob Hassett, Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church, VACopyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.