Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Owen Cross grew up with two loves: one a game, the other a girl. One of those loves ruined him. Now he’s counting on the other to save him.
Baseball always came easy for Owen Cross. His innate talents were honed beneath the stiff hand of a father who wanted nothing more than for his son to succeed where he had failed. The girl was a little more complicated. Owen loved Micky Dullahan from the first time they met, on a lonely hill overlooking the depressed area where her troubled family had always lived. But she was from the wrong side of the tracks, and so that spot became their haven, the one place they could be together without worry of class or reputation.
Owen’s career progresses just as everyone expects: college, the minors, even a few stints in the big leagues. But it is on a major league field that he has the epiphany that he has always given everything to baseball—and yet it cannot love him back.
Micky’s advice comes back to haunt him. “You’ve got a second chance to love what will always love you back.” And so he returns home to that hill, to the last place he ever saw her, finally ready to stop running away.
I was really intrigued by the synopsis of this book. I’m a big fan of baseball (Go Brewers!) and I’m a sucker for a solid emotional read. Check and check. The only hesitation that I stemmed from the fact that this is a Christian publisher and I, personally, am not someone who prefers to read religion-based fiction. So, instead of jumping in feet first, I tip-toed into it. You know, like when you have to ease yourself into the pool because the water’s too cold. (I know I’m not the only one who’s a baby about cold pool water.)
So yes, there is some religion in this book. If you’re like me and this is not a reading preference of yours, I’ll tell you that this was not a deterrent for me. It was not an overwhelming aspect of the story. The focus of the story was on Owen’s struggle to come to terms with his past, and the loss of Micky. I found myself getting lost in his memories. My world disappeared I was on the hill with Owen and Micky. They had a lot of struggles. They were from opposite sides of the tracks and couldn’t be seen together, they were young and trying to figure life out, and they wanted to save each other. It turned out to be exactly the type of emotional read I was seeking.
I also enjoyed the setup of the story, the timeline over which it’s told. It starts in the present, with Owen showing up to his Big League debut and follows him through that game. Simultaneously, he’s reminiscing about his past as certain aspects of the game, teammates, and stadium remind him of the people and places he used to know. It had a nice flow to it, while also keeping it moving at a steady pace because there are only nine innings in a game and each inning brings you closer to the end of the book.
Overall I’m really glad I gave this book a chance. If anything about this synopsis speaks to you, I’d recommend picking it up. It’s not an easy story to read, but it’s incredibly satisfying. And I think Owen and Micky will stay with you even after you turn the last page. ~Amber
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to be a part of this tour.