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Shakespeare Makes the Playoffs (Hardcover)
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Fielding his social life is a bigger challenge for Kevin than hitting a fastball in Ron Koertge’s funny, insightful sequel to Shakespeare Bats Cleanup.
Fourteen-year-old Kevin Boland has a passion for playing baseball, a knack for writing poetry — and a cute girlfriend named Mira who’s not much interested in either. But then, Kevin doesn’t exactly share Mira’s newfound fervor for all things green. So when Kevin signs up for open mike night at Bungalow Books and meets Amy, a girl who knows a sonnet from a sestina and can match his emails verse for verse, things start to get sticky. Should he stay with Mira? Or risk spoiling his friendship with Amy by asking her out? Ron Koertge, master of snappy dialogue and a deft poet, offers a fast-paced, sympathetic story that interweaves two narrative voices with humor and warmth.
About the Author
Ron Koertge is the author of many acclaimed novels, including Deadville, Strays, Margaux with an X, Stoner and Spaz, The Arizona Kid, Where the Kissing Never Stops, The Brimstone Journals, and his first novel-in-verse about Kevin Boland, Shakespeare Bats Cleanup. A two-time winner of the PEN Award, Ron Koertge lives in South Pasadena, California.
Koertge’s pleasing variety of verse – a villanelle here, a sestina there – is a seamless fit for his story and characters.
—The Horn Book (starred review)
The well-crafted poetry is firmly rooted in the experiences of regular teens and addresses subjects that range from breakups to baseball. Koertge works in some unobtrusive poetry instruction, and poems like Amy’s funny Transylvanian limericks and Kevin’s poignant reflections on “moving on” will inspire teens to try writing their own. Appealing and accessible.
Whether readers are meeting Kevin for the first time or have already read the first book, they are likely to enjoy both the accessible story and Kevin’s struggles with some demanding poetic structures.
—School Library Journal
Koertge masterfully leads readers to accept that people—yes, even teenagers—can be individuals, and that baseball and poetry are not necessarily at opposite ends of the spectrum. Well done.
The strength of both books is the seamless way Koertge shows how Kevin processes guilt, excitement, and uncertainty: with his pen.
Definitely a book to read, at least once, if not more.
—YA Books Central blog
Cuts against the stereotypes of dumb jocks and Goth poets to create a smart, every-guy protagonist whose down-to-earth voice and contemporary concerns refresh centuries-old poetic. . . . With this book, Koertge steps up to the plate — two outs, bases loaded — and stylistically knocks it out of the park.
—The Washington post
Heartfelt, funny, and brilliant in every way. . . a must-read.
—Kendal Rautzan's Books to Borrow, Books to Buy (syndicated column)
Wow — if you are celebrating April as poetry month, you need this book. If you are teaching middle-schoolers about poetry, you need this book. If you like a clever read about a boy who needs to break up with a girl who isn’t right for him, then you will love this book.
If you’re looking for a way to get a sports-obsessed kid into poetry, this may be it.