The Only Game

The Only Game

Mike Lupica

Simon & Schuster 2015

310 pp.  $16.99

Fiction-Baseball-Middle Grades

ISBN 978-1-4814-0995-7


Well-known sports writer Mike Lupica ventures again into young adult literature with this middle-grades book about an exceptional player who is sidelined by personal tragedy.  Lupica brings the character of Jack Callahan to life as the “best seventh grader in town, the best pitcher, and the best shortstop when he wasn’t pitching.”


Faced with the death of his brother, Jack quits the team, and the novel traces his steps through the healing process and toward returning to his life and moving forward.  Key to his maturation and development are his friendships with Cassie, a star softball player, and Teddy, an overweight boy who is the subject of harassment by the other students.


The novel wraps the issue of grief in the comfortable cloak of baseball and presents a highly readable and engaging story that will certainly benefit students who are in similar situations or need to support others who are dealing with loss.


Reviewed by Todd Goodson

Kansas State University

Manhattan, KS