The Way Home Looks Now

272p. Scholastic. May 2015. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545609562; ebk. $16.99. ISBN 9780545609586.
Gr 4–6—Twelve-year-old Peter just wants his home to be the way it was before—before his mother stopped talking, before she started sitting on the couch staring at the TV, and before his older brother died in a car accident. Peter's father is a strict Chinese immigrant who stresses homework, emphasizes respect for authority, and forbids baseball. Peter's mother and siblings loved the sport before his brother died; now baseball is no longer played or even talked about in the family. Peter becomes convinced that the way to get his mother back is to join Little League and play baseball again. He persuades his father to allow him to play, but during tryouts so many children show up that another coach is needed and Peter's father volunteers. This stressful dynamic shows Peter a different side of his father, a man who is mourning his son, loves his family, knows a lot about baseball, and believes in fairness. Peter is a fully realized character, but the rest of his family and most of the players on his team fall flat.
VERDICT Though the plot occasionally gets bogged down with too many side stories, this heartwarming story is still a worthy purchase.

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