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We have a multitude of obstacles to overcome here. We’ll begin.
When LaVaughn was little, the obstacles in her life didn’t seem so bad. If she had a fight with Myrtle or Annie, it would never last long. If she was mad at her mother, they made up by bedtime. School was simple. Boys were buddies. Everything made sense.
But LaVaughn is fifteen and the obstacles aren’t going away anymore. Big questions separate her from her friends. Her mother is distracted by a new man. School could slip away from her so easily. And the boy who’s a miracle in her life acts just as if he’s in love with her. Only he’s not in love with her.
Returning to the characters and language she explored so profoundly in Make Lemonade, Virginia Euwer Wolff rises to the occasion in this astonishing second of three novels about LaVaughn, her family, and her community.
An award-winning novel about growing up and making choices
Jolly is seventeen. She can’t really spell. She doesn’t have much of a job. And she has two little kids from two different, absent fathers.
Jolly knows she can’t cope with Jilly and Jeremy all by herself. So she posts a notice on the school bulletin board: BABYSITTER NEEDED BAD. No one replies but Verna LaVaughn, who’s only fourteen. How much help can she be?
For a while, Jolly, Jilly, Jeremy, and LaVaughn are an extraordinary family. Then LaVaughn takes the first steps toward building her own future, and Jolly begins the long slow process of turning the lemons of her life into lemonade.
Written in sixty-six chapters with text lines that break at natural speaking phrases, this is a startling novel by an extraordinary writer.
Bat 6 that’s the softball game played every year between the sixth grade girls of Barlow and Bear Creek Ridge. All the girls—Beautiful Hair Hallie, Manzanita who gets the spirit, the twins Lola and Lila, Tootie, Shadean—they’ve been waiting for their turn at Bat 6 since they could first toss a ball.
This time there’s a newcomer on each team: Aki, at first base for the Ridgers, who just returned with her family from a place she’s too embarrassed to talk about. And Shazam, center field for Barlow, who’s been shunted around by her mother since her father was killed on December 7, 1941.
The adults of the two towns would rather not speak about why Aki’s family has to “go away.” They can’t quite admit just how “different” Shazam is. And that is why the two girls are on a collision course that explodes catastrophically on the morning of Bat 6, the day they’ve been preparing for all their lives.